Tuesday, 17th November, 2020

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Tuesday, 17th November, 2020


The House met at 1430 hours


[MR SPEAKER in the Chair]











Mr Speaker: Hon. Members, I have authorised the National Health Insurance Management Authority (NHIMA) to conduct a half day presentation on the National Health Insurance Scheme and its operations for hon. Members of Parliament. NHIMA appreciates the critical role that hon. Members of Parliament play in communicating vital information among its membership in their respective constituencies.


The presentation will be conducted on Wednesday, 18th November, 2020, in the Amphitheatre, here at Parliament Buildings, in two sessions, firstly, from 0930 hours to 1100 hours and, thereafter, from 1100 hours to 1230 hours. The session in which individual hon. Members will attend the presentation has been circulated in the Members' pigeonholes. I, therefore, urge all hon. Members to participate in this important engagement.


I thank you.







The Vice-President (Mrs Wina): Mr Speaker, I thank you for giving me this opportunity to respond to the point of order raised by Hon. Jack Mwiimbu, on the concerns relating to the slow pace of registration of voters by the Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ). The ECZ, in accordance with Article 229(2a-c) of the Constitution of Zambia (Amendment) Act No. 2 of 2016, and Section 7 of the Electoral Process Act No. 35 of 2016, is mandated to register voters.


Mr Speaker, in view of this constitutional and statutory mandate, the commission commenced the process of registration of voters on Monday, 9th November, 2020. The process of registration of voters is expected to run for a period of thirty days, from 9th November, 2020 to 12th December, 2020. During this period, the commission has targeted to register a total number of 9 million voters. Since the exercise commenced, the commission has received an overwhelming response from eligible citizens who are turning up to register as voters. This is, indeed, commendable of all Zambians.


Mr Speaker, in order to achieve the intended target, the commission has taken into account, the concerns raised by the general public on the ongoing Voter Registration Exercise, including the issue raised through the point of order by Hon. Jack Mwiimbu on the slow pace of registration of voters. The commission has taken the following actions to address the public concerns:


Duration of Registration and Slow Pace of Registration of Voters


Mr Speaker, the commission is grateful that members of the public have come out in numbers to register as voters. The commission has, therefore, started deploying additional staff and registration kits to the registration centres, which have recorded high numbers of people so that the Voter Registration Exercise can be efficiently and expeditiously done. It must be noted that not all centres have recorded a high number of persons intending to register and it is for this reason that extra kits will be deployed to only those that have a huge turnout.


Online Pre-Application


Mr Speaker, in order to ensure that eligible citizens who have and may wish to use the online pre-application platform to submit their details spend less time at the registration centres, the commission will be publishing designated collection centres, specifically for those who submitted their details online.


It will be indicated at those centres that designated queues will be available for those who registered online. This will give them priority as the process will be quicker. Once those citizens who preregistered complete the process, other members of the public can be attended to on those queues.


Recruitment of Additional Staff


Mr Speaker, as an immediate measure to address the congestion at registration centres, the commission has started deploying additional staff to supplement the registration process. This is intended to ensure that citizens applying to be registered as voters are processed quickly. Positive results of this are already being witnessed in other centres as has been reported in the media.


Extension of Registration Hours


Mr Speaker, the House may wish to note that the commission has extended the operational hours for selected registration centres from 0600 hours to 2200 hours. Further, all registration centres located at civic centres across the country and the ECZ Resource Centre in the show grounds will now operate on a 24 hours basis in order to capture as many eligible citizens who may not have an opportunity during the day. This measure will be complemented by the introduction of shifts for the registration officers so as to cure burnout levels among our officers.


Mr Speaker, I wish to remind the general public that a person wishing to register as a voter can register from any polling station countrywide, even if it is not the polling station where he/she will vote from in 2021. This allows for citizens who have travelled away from their designated voting polling stations to collect their voters’ cards any day during this period.


Persons with Disabilities, Expectant Mothers and the Elderly


Mr Speaker, this august House may wish to note that it is the practice of the commission that persons with disabilities, the elderly and expectant mothers ought to be given priority during elections and in all the electoral services. Therefore, the commission has instructed all field officers to ensure that persons with disabilities, expectant mothers and the elderly people are assisted and taken to the front of the queues to be attended to, promptly.


Voter Registration Phases


Mr Speaker, the commission is undertaking a countrywide Mobile Voter Registration Exercise which is divided into four phases. During those phases, the registration officers will move within a ward at intervals of at least seven days so as to capture eligible citizens from within their catchment area. The intention of the commission is to cover all the 8,999 registration centres to ensure that they are all catered for, within the thirty-day period. Therefore, not all registration centres will be open at the same time in each phase. However, registration centres will open according to the allocated phases. This then means that a registration centre that may not be open in the current Phase I will open in subsequent phases.


Mr Speaker, the commission has shared the deployment plan for voter registration officers with the general public through all the 116 councils and the print media, and one can be accessed by visiting the commission’s website. In addition, the commission voter education facilitators are making public announcements in communities as to which registration centres are open. Notwithstanding the foregoing, I wish to further state that the commission has also stationed registration centres in all the 116 district centres and the ECZ Resource Centre in the show grounds here in Lusaka. Those registration centres are positioned in such a way that people do not have to travel distances to register as voters.


Mr Speaker, in conclusion, my Government has and will always be committed to adhering to our electoral processes. We are further committed to ensuring all processes relating to voter registration until voting are conducted in a free and fair manner, that all citizens are given an opportunity to exercise their right to vote and that the electoral process is conducted in an efficient manner. It is for this reason that the ECZ has taken further steps of ensuring that the initial teething problems are dealt with in the shortest possible time by putting in place mechanisms to enable all eligible citizens who wish to register as voters to do so.


Mr Speaker, my appeal to all eligible voters and the general public is that we need to have confidence in the ECZ that it is carrying out the exercise in accordance with its mandate and that indeed, the ECZ is taking this process very seriously for the good of the nation. Let us refrain from all negative comments, both on social media as well as the print or electronic media, which may lead to unnecessary violence during the entire period.


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


Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!


Mr Speaker: Hon. Members, you are now free to ask questions on points of clarification on the statement given by Her Honour the Vice-President.


Mr Chikote (Luampa): Mr Speaker, in some polling stations, the seven-day period has already elapsed and the measures the Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) has put in place will not benefit the Zambians who wanted to register because some people were left out after the first thirty days elapsed. What is the commission going to do in order to capture the people who were left out in those polling stations because the measures the ECZ has put in place have only come in effect after the first round of Phase I has elapsed?


The Vice-President: Mr Speaker, the hon. Member should be aware that the kits have been placed in all the districts and constituencies. The rotation of kits is within the wards. So, even those that were not captured in the initial stages of the process will be captured when it continues. I am sure that those that were left out due to some challenges at the beginning of the exercise will be revisited. That will be assessed at the end of the process.


I thank you, Sir.


Dr Musokotwane (Liuwa): Mr Speaker, Her Honour the Vice-President can understand the concerns of the public because similar assurances like the ones she is making now were given at the time of the issuance of the National Registration Cards (NRCs) and those assurances from the Government ended up being unfulfilled.


Sir, what is difficult about the Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) meeting stakeholders and agreeing on the way the voter registration exercise is going to be managed so that we all have an assurance that it is going to be managed properly. What is difficulty about ECZ clinging on to this exercise as if it is a personal enterprise rather than opening it up to the Zambian public so that we all agree on the way forward?


The Vice-President: Mr Speaker, ECZ is an independent institution. It operates in an environment where it has to engage stakeholders, and political parties are very critical stakeholders in the electoral process. I believe when it is necessary, when the political parties demand that a meeting should be arranged to meet the stakeholders, I am sure ECZ will oblige.


Sir, I have been informed that Opposition political parties as well as Patriotic Front (PF) members have been visiting ECZ offices. I do not know what other engagement is required for the hon. Member to realise that ECZ is already engaging. However, should a different type of a meeting be requested for, I believe ECZ will oblige.


I thank you, Sir.


Mr Mwiimbu (Monze Central): Mr Speaker, thank you for according me this opportunity to raise issues with Her Honour the Vice-President pertaining to the registration of voters. I have no doubt in my mind that all the political players in this country have raised issues pertaining to the way the registration of voters is being managed by the Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ).


Sir, I have just come from the constituency and I visited the polling stations that were in the first phase. According to the information that I have been given, and I meant to understand that this is what is obtaining in most of the constituencies in Zambia, ECZ has not managed to capture more than 20 per cent of registered voters in the polling stations that they went to in the first phase of the exercise. ECZ has since moved its officers to other polling stations, resulting in more than 80 per cent of registered voters in the previous polling stations not being attended to.


Mr Speaker, with your permission, I would like to say that in the rural areas, the distances from polling stations are not as is obtaining in the urban areas. There could be, in certain instances, more than 20km away. Having highlighted those problems and taking into account the fact that the whole process is very slow and tedious to the extent that members of the public have been going to these polling stations for more than three days without being attended to, the question that begs an answer is, what measures is ECZ going to put in place so that those who were not able to register in the first phase, do so, taking into account the process and the distances? I cannot talk about the second phase. What is ECZ going to do about those people? Could Her Honour the Vice-President be categorical and tell the nation that she is going to take back the registration officers to those centres so that Zambians are not disenfranchised.


The Vice-President: Mr Speaker, the hon. Leader of the Opposition has provided the answer. This is because at the end of every phase, the situation will be reviewed. If it is found that many or a number of people were left out in the first phase because of the initial challenges that ECZ faced, the officers will go back to ensure that everyone is captured. So, our people should be assured that it was not easy in the beginning, but they should not worry because they will all be captured. We want everyone to be registered, especially those that have expressed the desire to register themselves.


I thank you, Sir.


Mr Kambita (Zambezi East): Mr Speaker, thank you for according me the opportunity to ask Her Honour the Vice-President a question. Disenfranchising people is not only making them not to obtain voters cards but the delays and frustrations in the process are causing most of our people not to register. We saw this situation during the mobile issuance of National Registration Cards (NRCs) where the Executive had control of the process. It was frustrating in that officers never went back to those centres where we had critical complaints. To date, we still have complaints about the issuance of NRCs. What guarantee is there that those pronouncements you are making about officers going back to those centres that were missed in Phase I, will come to fruition. We are alive to the fact that in its earlier pronouncements, the Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) did mention that it would put machines at each and every centre. In its calculations, pronouncements and announcements to the nation, ECZ did provide this information. Why then have you put a cap to a limit of thirty days for the process to be completed, if there are all these challenges that we are now facing. Where is the guarantee that everyone will be captured?


The Vice-President: Mr Speaker, I do acknowledge that challenges were faced in the first phase or first week of the voter registration process but the situation has improved and continues to improve.


Mr Speaker, a number of officers have been recruited to beef the numbers. There are 832 additional assistant registration officers or field workers who have been recruited and some are still undergoing training. These will be deployed as follows:


  1. additional officers will be sent to centres that are open twenty-four hours;
  2. staff shifts to high traffic centres across the country will have additional officers;
  3. registration for additional kits will be sent to other populated centres; and
  4. 400 uniformed police officers have been engaged to participate in the process.


Mr Speaker, voter registration is, therefore, different from the issuance of National Registration Cards (NRCs). Of course, there was the mobile issuance of NRCs, but the issuance of NRCs goes on throughout the year. People can go to the district headquarters and access NRCs. For this period of voter registration, it is mandatory that those that want to register themselves as voters abide by the guidelines that we all have to register. The days and hours have been given by ECZ so that we do not miss out. So, yes, I do acknowledge the fact that people were being left out, and that this happened during the first few days of the process. However, the situation will improve as time passes.


I thank you, Sir.


Mr Speaker: Hon. Members, first and foremost, the questions that have been posed so far, have tended to be long and winding or have long prefaces. I have a very long list of persons who have already indicated that they would like to intervene. If I will allow as many as possible to intervene, it means we must be brief in our questions. That is the first point.


The second point is that, the context of the point of order and the ministerial statement itself is very clear. The concern was that the pace was slow and that reality has been acknowledged. Her Honour the Vice-President has outlined, in my opinion, comprehensive measures that have been taken to accelerate the processes. The very essence of what we are doing now is to seek clarification. Clarification means clarification. You clarify what is not clear from the statement. This is not really an opportunity for discourse or negotiations of how this process should be managed. The other platforms are available for that purpose and engagement for that matter. I know there are structures at the Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ), and I would like to believe that generally, ECZ is available for these engagements. Now is an opportunity to clarify the statement made by Her Honour the Vice-President.


Mr Michelo (Bweengwa): Mr Speaker, out of the 9 million total projected voters to be registered by the Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ), how many people, in percentage terms, have been captured in Phase 1 of the exercise? I ask this so that we know if we will manage to capture the 100 per cent by the end of the programme.


Mr Speaker: Your Honour the Vice-President, is that information readily available? I do not expect it to be, but if it is, please go ahead.


The Vice-President: Mr Speaker, in the first phase of the voter registration exercise, ECZ expected to capture a bit more. However, the commission registered, approximately 1,106,000 people across the country. This is an aggregate of all the ten provinces of Zambia. The commission will provide disaggregated data at the end of the registration exercise. The current system allows for citizens, as I said earlier, to register from any registration centre across the country. So, the current number of registered voters is 1,106,000 persons.


I thank you, Sir.


Mr Lufuma (Kabompo): Mr Speaker, thank you for giving me this opportunity to ask Her Honour the Vice-President a question on the voter registration exercise. One of the major complaints by people registering is that there are long queues and that the registration officers are taking too long to serve them. This has been attributed to malfunctioning equipment, that is, computers and the photocopying equipment that is within the registration centres. Now, people are saying this is due to the fact that the procurement system malfunctioned, in that the equipment that was bought is second hand and is, therefore, not able to stand the big activities that are required for registration of a big number like 9 million. What is ECZ doing about the replacement of this equipment so that it is more efficient?


The Vice-President: Mr Speaker, the capturing of voters is a security issue. Even the machine that has to be assigned for this purpose has to be very efficient. It should not be susceptible to manipulation. Therefore, wherever there has been some deficiency in the operation of the kit, there has always been a backup one that would have been placed at the centre. The Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) is on 24 hour alert from all the stations in the country. There can never be a time when a machine can go out of service for a day or many hours. This has been attended to.


Mr Speaker, it is very unfortunate for the hon. Member to insinuate that this voter registration equipment was a second-hand acquisition because it was procured using the open bidding tender process which commenced last year. Therefore, there was no way that the Government could buy second-hand equipment or machinery for a process such as voter registration.


Mr Speaker, I thank you.


Mr Mbangweta (Nkeyema): Mr Speaker, I would like to thank Her Honour the Vice-President for the statement. The anticipation of voter registration of about 9 million people was premised on the fact that the online registration would work throughout the country. However, quite clearly, it has collapsed. In places like Nkeyema, it does not work. From the figures she has given here, the Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) has only registered 1.1 million people after a week when it should have registered 2,250 million per week. In what sense are those measures going to ensure that 8 million people register in the remaining three weeks?


Mr Speaker, I thank you.


The Vice-President: Mr Speaker, the capturing of more voters will be achieved by the many measures that I have outlined. The ECZ has increased the number of kits and staff. It is also opening certain centres for 24 hours to provide service as well as many other measures so that it captures as many voters as possible. So, the hon. Member should be aware that the challenges that were faced in the first week will not be faced in days to come. In the other phases, the ECZ is taking measures to ensure that it does not face the same challenges as at the beginning of the process.


I thank you, Sir.


Ms Subulwa (Sioma): Mr Speaker, there are concerns that have been raised by members of the public regarding the quality of the voter’s cards that are being issued to would be voters. The other issue is to do with this period where people are busy farming. What guarantee is there or what strategy is in place to persuade people to register as voters?


Mr Speaker, I thank you.


Mr Speaker: That statement does not form part of the statement.


Mr Livune (Katombola): Mr Speaker, I am grateful. The slow pace of getting people registered has been countered with the measures that have been pronounced. However, in districts like Kazungula, it takes almost 200 km to 300 km to reach the Boma were facilities are open for 24 hours. On top of that, as I speak today, it is raining in some polling stations and the Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) has failed to move registration officers because roads are made up of clay soil and vehicles are getting stuck. So, we have a problem. What advice is Her Honour the Vice-President going to give the people of Kazungula for them not to be disenfranchised?


Mr Speaker: What is your question?


Mr Livune: Mr Speaker, what advice is Her Honour the Vice-President giving to the electorate in Kazungula or those who want to register? Right now, some of them are appearing on the old register, but cannot go to the centres because, in some cases, streams are full. Therefore, it would have been appropriate to maintain the old register. However, under the circumstances, what is going to happen to those voters? Right now, the ECZ cannot move people conducting registration because roads are impassable. The rains are raining. The season is bad. I need her Honour the Vice-President to give us –


Mr Speaker:  I do not know what else can rain.




Mr Speaker: Hon. Members, we have a lot of business. In my opinion, this is a very plain and clear statement rendered. There appears to be nothing to clarify so far. I will, therefore, proceed to the next order.







64.  Dr Kopulande (Chembe) asked the Minister of Health:


  1. why the frequency of dialysis treatment at the University Teaching Hospital has been reduced from four to two times a week; and
  2. when procurement of sufficient dialysis machines and other materials to meet the needs of patients countrywide, will commence.


The Minister of Health (Dr Chilufya): Mr Speaker, the frequency of dialysis treatment at the University Teaching Hospital (UTH) has indeed been reduced from four to two times a week as we are making adjustments to respond to the increased number of patients that require dialysis. We have noted a spike in the number of patients that require dialysis because of chronic kidney disease. To respond to this, we have embarked on a process to increase machines for dialysis and to expand infrastructure where dialysis can be done. We are, further, engaging our suppliers to ensure that the supply chain is un-chocked by addressing the issue of debt and also increasing the number of suppliers who could give us the consumables that we need for dialysis.


Mr Speaker, this situation is being addressed quickly. We have also embarked on a process to introduce kidney transplant. We had started, but were derailed by the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. However, with the COVID-19 pandemic abetting locally and while watching carefully what is happening in the global space, we hope that this kidney transplant process will commence and further reduce the number of cases that will require dialysis.


Mr Speaker, like I said earlier on, the procurement of dialysis machines has already commenced. As we speak today, we have twelve machines that have been put at the Levy Mwanawasa University Teaching Hospital while another ten are being put at the Lusaka Specialist Hospital. Six are at the Kalindawalo General Hospital and another six are at the Chinsali General Hospital. Further, we are going to introduce dialysis treatment in Chingola. 


Mr Speaker, provincial hospitals such as Livingstone General Hospital and Mansa General Hospital have also introduced dialysis machines. This has reduced the number of people who travel from outside Lusaka to seek dialysis at the University Teaching Hospital (UTH).


Mr Speaker, this process is ongoing in line with our aspiration for universal health coverage where we will leave no one behind as espoused by the Government of His Excellency, President Lungu. We will cater for all patients, including those who have chronic kidney and acute kidney diseases.


Mr Speaker, I thank you.


Mr Mwiimbu (Monze Central): Mr Speaker, I thank the hon. Minister of Health for the statement he has made. However, I do not know whether he is aware that the situation obtaining at the University Teaching Hospital (UTH) currently, is unfortunate considering that the machines that are available are not adequate to cater for patients. As a result of the lack of the equipment at the UTH, a number of patients who need dialysis are opting to go to private institutions which are charging more than K750 per day, as the lowest figure. I am aware that other institutions are charging K1,500. Most patients are not able to meet this high cost. Is there any assistance that the Ministry of Health can provide to those who require dialysis twice or four times in a week and are not able to meet the cost in private institutions? Those who have kidney problems have life threatening problems. Is the ministry in a position to take up the cost to save the lives of many Zambians who require the services of a dialysis machine?


Dr Chilufya: Mr Speaker, to the contrary, the UTH is not sending away any patient. We are accommodating everyone. The reason we have even reduced the frequency from four to two times a week is to accommodate everybody. So, in the short-term, we know that the complications of anaemia, fluid overload and a few other complications will not hit us. So, we are saying that to accommodate everybody and ensure that no one is sent away, we need to reduce the frequency while we address the issue of operationalising the Levy Mwanawasa University Teaching Hospital and the Lusaka Specialist Hospital, and ensure that these places have the consumables that we require.


Mr Speaker, further, in transforming the health sector, this Government has introduced the National Health Insurance Management Authority (NHIMA) where people prepay a small amount of money and do not need to pay for services when they are at the UTH as members of the scheme. Further, if there is need for them to go to a private facility for any reason, and they are on the scheme, we are able to allow them to go to that facility and that facility will bill NHIMA. We do co-ordinate with our colleagues in the private sector, from time to time to ensure that we do not leave anyone behind and do not pass the burden to the patient.


Mr Speaker, I thank you.


Mr Chaatila (Moomba): Mr Speaker, the hon. Minister indicated that the number of patients who require dialysis is on the increase. He has given some reasons the ministry has reduced the number of days for accessing dialysis from four to two a week. I cannot see any reason that warrants the reduction of the number of days for accessing dialysis from all that he indicated. Maybe I missed his explanation, and I would like him to give us an exact reason the number of days for accessing dialysis has reduced from four to two a week when the number of patients needing this intervention is on the increase.


Dr Chilufya: Mr Speaker, maybe I should begin by defining what dialysis is. Dialysis is basically a treatment which substitutes the function of the kidney. It does clinical purification. You take the blood and cleanse it using the machine instead of the kidney because the kidney is malfunctioning. This can happen because of chronic kidney disease or because of an acute insult to the kidney. At any one time, we have planned for a number of patients as well as consumables and machines that are commensurate to the number of patients that we have planned for. When we see a spike in cases for any reason, we have two options. Either, patients can be sent away to die or be accommodated. Short-term measures such as reduction of frequency from four times to two times a week are only meant to accommodate everybody so that we do not leave anybody behind.


Mr Speaker, like I said, these are short-term administrative measures. Already, we are operationalising the Levy Mwanawasa University Teaching Hospital. As at last week, it was open to the public for routine services. As we speak today, we do not even have a single patient with Coronavirus Disease - 2019 (COVID-19) at that hospital. It is open to the public. The twelve kidney dialysis machines at this hospital will now be available for use. We are just managing the aspect of consumables. In the next two to three weeks, we are also going to open the Renal Dialysis Section at the Lusaka Specialist Hospital.


Mr Speaker, like I said earlier, provinces have also been brought on board and, as we work with NHIMA, the private sector is also taking some patients. The real reason is simple. There has been a spike in the number of patients beyond what we planned for. So, instead of sending everybody away, we have come up with measures that will bring everybody together. When we resolve the issues of capacity, everybody with chronic kidney disease will go back to accessing treatment four times a week. Furthermore, we are transformational. We have now introduced kidney transplant services. With COVID-19 abetting, we will get back to transplanting. Those who will have matching donors will have transplants and wean off from dialysis. So, we are firmly on course.


I thank you, Mr Speaker.


Mr Miyanda (Mapatizya): Mr Speaker, kidney disease has taken a good number of lives. I have looked at the number of hospitals that the hon. Minister indicated would provide dialysis and would like to appreciate what the approximate cost of a single dialysis machine imported from wherever to our country could be.


Dr Chilufya: Mr Speaker, we have various types of machines and they cost differently. There are also various ways we procure dialysis machines. There are schemes where the supplier just places the dialysis machines in our facilities and our role is to buy consumables. In that case, we do not procure the machines. There are other situations where a contract involves procurement of the machines and again that depends on many variables. So, I would not give an average price.


However, I would like to correct the hon. Member of Parliament and say that dialysis does not kill because this is a treatment. What kills is the kidney disease and dialysis is a lifesaving treatment instead. Dialysis is a process of purification of the blood by ensuring that you remove impurities such as excess fluid, solutes or waste and the person now operates optimally. So, I repeat that dialysis is a treatment and does not kill.


I thank you, Sir.


Mr Speaker: I will take the last interventions as follows, the hon. Member for Katombola, hon. Member for Serenje and the last intervention will come from the hon. Member for Chembe.


Mr Livune (Katombola): Mr Speaker, the reduction of the treatment from four to two times a week is purely an administrative one to accommodate the huge number of patients. I want to find out what the ramifications of this reduction could be in the long run, on a patient in a situation where the administrative solution delays to come by.


Dr Chilufya: Mr Speaker, ideally, a patient with a chronic kidney condition will, indeed, require three to four times dialysis sessions. This is to ensure we avoid fluid overload and toxemia from accumulation of the various toxic substances in the body. Yes, indeed, reduction of this treatment from four to two times a week may put a patient at risk in the long term, but not in the short term. That is why we are saying that this is not a matter that will be prolonged. This is a short term situation.


Sir, the complications that arise if a patient does not have adequate dialysis will involve fluid overload and anemia, but these are in the long term. Therefore, we are able to triage which patients can take that short term intervention and which ones cannot. So, we have emphasised that what is happening is a short term measure and the patients are not at risk.


I thank you, Mr Speaker.


Mr Kabanda (Serenje): Mr Speaker, while I acknowledge that a lot of infrastructure has been put up across the country in terms of provision of health facilities for all, I am not sure whether we have adequate personnel to manage the patients who are on dialysis machines which were taken to all these places, including Serenje.


Dr Chilufya: Mr Speaker, services that are available at a particular institution match the level of accreditation. So, we will provide health services commensurate to the level of accreditation. In this case, dialysis services will be provided at a second level hospital. At that second level hospital, there will be personnel that are qualified to manage the whole process of dialysis or renal services broadly.


Sir, as we build and upgrade hospitals countrywide, we do plan for nephrology services and we ensure that we refurbish or put up infrastructure that will accommodate dialysis machines and train staff that will manage that service. As part of the legacy goals that we have set in President Lungu’s transformational agenda in the health sector, 500 new specialists are being trained and some of those are renal specialists. There are a number of them being trained locally here and they are being posted to different parts of the country.


Mr Speaker, as we speak today, we have specialists on the Copperbelt and at Levy Mwanawasa University Teaching Hospital. Some are earmarked for other hospitals that we are opening and we have roving renal teams that support services in other places. So, we plan for both infrastructure and equipment and beyond that, even for human capital.


I thank you, Sir.


Dr Kopulande: Mr Speaker, from the information I have, it so happens that the reduction in the treatment is not only the weekly attendance from four to two times a week, but is also a reduction by half in the period that the treatment is conducted from four hours to two hours per session. Now, that raises the threat to life of a patient. Therefore, in view of this and the administrative challenges currently being faced, is the Government considering a continuation of the previous practice of sending some urgent cases abroad for treatment as had been done before as an interim measure while, as I understand, all efforts are being put in place to normalise the situation?


Dr Chilufya: Mr Speaker, first of all, one of the reasons we modernise our hospitals through infrastructure upgrade, re-equipment, and human capital development is to stem capital flight through treatment abroad. Furthermore, it is to ensure that we increase access to health services for all. It is also important to note that treatment abroad only benefited very few people and we did not see the impact on the health of our people. So, we are not going backwards.


Sir, we have made a lot of progress in our aspiration for universal health coverage and in the expansion of the scope of services. If we talk of nephrology or renal services itself, while in the past we would send people abroad, today we have people coming in from within the region to do renal dialysis at Livingstone General Hospital, University Teaching Hospital (UTH) here in Lusaka and in various parts of the Copperbelt. So, we have capacity in the country to provide renal dialysis.


Mr Speaker, the slump that we have noticed in the last quarter had to do a lot with a sudden rise in the cost and also with the constriction in the supply chain for consumables, by and large, because of the Coronavirus Disease-2019 (COVID-19) challenges that we had. So, we are streamlining our relationship with the suppliers and ensuring that we manage the debt in the supply chain and get back to normal.


Therefore, there is no room for going backwards. We will continue modernising and, as a matter of fact, we will actually expand access to renal services countrywide. We have already made a statement of intent by introducing these renal dialysis services in the provincial hospitals. In the past, you needed to get on a vehicle to come to Lusaka for dialysis from Mansa, for instance. Now, however, you can do it at Mansa General Hospital. Similarly, you can also do it at Livingstone General Hospital. So, there is steady progress in the provision of this service and there is no need for us to start thinking of treatment abroad.


Mr Speaker, on the issue of adequacy of dialysis, like I said, we may have reduced from four to two times in a week, but that does not affect the quality of the dialysis itself. Like I said, it is an interim measure and we will get back to normalcy very soon as we expand services in those facilities.


I thank you, Sir.








THE EXTRADITION (Amendment) BILL, 2020


The Minister of Justice (Mr Lubinda): Mr Speaker, I beg to move that the Bill be now read a second time.


Sir, the object of the Extradition (Amendment) Bill, No. 16 of 2020, is to amend the Extradition Act, Chapter 94 of the Laws of Zambia, so as to provide for measures for monitoring of a request which was made to a competent authority. This is in keeping with the recommendation No. 39 of the mutual evaluation carried out in 2019, under the auspices of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF). This is similar to the various amendments that we made to various pieces of legislation to keep up with international best practices on the subject of monitoring money laundering and curtailing of it.


I thank you, Sir.


Mr Jere (Livingstone): Mr Speaker, in accordance with its terms of reference as set out under Standing Order No. 157(2), the Committee on Legal Affairs, Human Rights, National Guidance, Gender Matters and Governance was tasked to scrutinise the Extradition (Amendment) Bill No. 16 of 2020 referred to it on Tuesday, 20th October, 2020.


Sir, as you are aware, Zambia is a member of the Financial Action Task-Force through her membership to the Eastern and Southern Africa Anti-Money Laundering Group. In 2018/2019, the country was assessed on her anti-money laundering, counter-terrorism and proliferation financing system. Following this assessment, a mutual evaluation report of June 2019, under recommendation No. 39, observed, inter alia, that there was no information on the implementation and effectiveness of extradition requests, a record of how many extradition requests had been handled or how many of those involved Zambian nationals. Further, it was observed that there was no information on the ability of Zambian authorities to effectively handle extradition requests, promptly.


Mr Speaker, as the House is aware, Section 6 of the Extradition Act, Chapter 94 of the Laws of Zambia provides for requests by foreign states to be made to the Attorney-General, where a foreign state requests extradition. The Act also has a provision on how the requests may be made and what must accompany them. However, the Act does not provide for the measures to monitor a request for extradition made by a foreign state. In view of this, the Government introduced the Extradition (Amendment) Bill of 2020, to provide for measures and monitoring of the requests made to a competent authority.


Sir, while the Bill has, generally, been supported by stakeholders, there are a few areas of concern that I now wish to highlight.


Mr Speaker, the Committee is of the view that since extradition deals with criminal matters, it is necessary that these measures are developed after receiving recommendations within a stipulated time frame from the Zambia Police, the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC), the Drug Enforcement Commission and the National Prosecutions Authority (NPA). This is because these are the institutions that are well-versed to determine the credibility of the evidence.


Sir, in view of the foregoing, the Committee strongly urges the Government to ensure that measures for monitoring the execution of an extradition request are developed after receiving recommendations within a stipulated time frame from law enforcement agencies.


Mr Speaker, the Committee notes that conferring the Attorney-General with statutory powers to issue a statutory instrument adds to the intention and objective of the Act. This, notwithstanding, the Committee observes that Zambia acceded to the United Nations (UN) Convention against Transnational Organised Crime in 2005. Therefore, there is a need for a holistic review of the Extradition Act, Chapter 94 of the Laws of Zambia to fully domesticate the convention. The review will answer a global challenge with a global response.


Sir, in conclusion, allow me to render my sincere gratitude to all the stakeholders who gave both written and oral submissions. This greatly assisted the Committee in its work.


Mr Speaker, lastly, I wish to thank you and the Clerk of the National Assembly and her staff for the guidance and support services rendered to the Committee throughout its deliberations.


I thank you, Sir.


Mr Lubinda: Mr Speaker, I would like to thank the Committee for supporting this Bill. In so doing, let me just clarify the two matters that were raised by the chairperson.


Sir, firstly, the measures will neither be made on a daily basis nor every time there is a request of extradition. The measures will be done once. In arriving at those measures, the learned Attorney-General will, obviously, have to make reference and consultations with the various law enforcement agencies. Therefore, that fear must be rested. Secondly, this amendment is purely to bring into place, recommendation No. 39 of the mutual evaluation.


Mr Speaker, the matters to do with the United Nations Convention against Transnational Crimes shall be handled separately. Indeed, if need be, we will come back to Parliament to domesticate that international treaty.


Sir, the recognition by the Committee of the decentralisation of the development of measures to the level of Attorney-General is well appreciated. As a matter of fact, I may be bringing a further amendment to the Mutual and Legal Assistance (Amendment) Bill to bring down the measures in there, from the office of the Minister to the learned Attorney-General so that the two laws are similar. That is just to agree with the Committee that there is value in us ensuring that it is the learned Attorney-General and not the hon. Minister, who comes up with these measures.


Mr Speaker, I take that counsel and I will be consulting my colleagues. I hope that they will agree with me that we treat the Mutual Legal Assistance (Amendment) Bill in a similar fashion.


Sir, I thank Parliament for supporting this Bill.


I thank you, Sir.


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


Committed to a committee of the Whole House.


Committee on Tuesday, 24th November, 2020.




The Minister of Higher Education (Dr Mushimba): Mr Speaker, I beg to move that the Bill be now read a second time.


Sir, the establishment of the Zambia Academy of Sciences through an Act of Parliament will not only give it the authority and backing of the law on matters relating to science but will also, through the functions and other objects, provide it with legal backing to manage its finances and other affairs, thereby, ensuring financial self-sustainability. It is expected that once in place, the Zambia Academy of Sciences Act will create an enabling environment for the academy to provide independent and objective advice and opinions on matters relating to the science field to both, the Government and the private sector. It will also play an advisory role in planning and coordinating the country’s science education.


Mr Speaker, the objects of the Zambia Academy of Sciences Bill, 2020 are to –


  1. provide for the promotion of technological discovery and innovation;
  2. establish the Zambia Academy of Sciences and provide for its functions;
  3. provide for the investigation of matters of public interest relating to science and technology;
  4. provide for the promotion of research and its utilisation in the development of science and technology; and
  5. provide for matters connected with, or incidental to, the foregoing


Sir, the functions of the academy are to:


  1. investigate, examine and report matters of public interest concerning science and technology through its own initiative or at the request of the Government, its agencies and the private sector;
  2. provide independent advice in the development, promotion and utilisation of science and technology;
  3. provide financial and technical support for research and innovation in collaboration with national, regional and international organisations;
  4. establish and strengthen co-operation with national, regional and international institutions that promote science;
  5. provide support for programmes aimed at improving curricula and the teaching of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) at all levels of the education system;
  6. provide support for the establishment and operation of specialised discipline-based science academies and young academies of sciences; and
  7. undertake the publication and dissemination of scientific and technological achievements in collaboration with the National Science and Technology Council and other organisations.


Mr Speaker, the above functions are unique to the academy and will compliment the Government’s medium and long term vision of investing in science through independent science bodies.


Sir, the enactment of the Zambia Academy of Sciences Bill into law, will not affect any existing laws or interfere with the operations of other existing institutions, in science technology and innovation. Rather, this law will play a complimentary role. More importantly, the law will also play a critical role in fostering innovation and promoting the development of new technologies through the above stated functions.


Mr Speaker, I thank you.


Mr Mwamba (Lubansenshi): Mr Speaker, the Committee on Education, Science and Technology was tasked to scrutinise the Zambia Academy of Sciences Bill, No. 17 of 2020. In order to appreciate the ramifications of the Bill, the Committee sought both written and oral submissions from stakeholders.


Sir, as the House is aware, the Zambia Academy of Sciences was established on 13th July, 2005. The purpose of its establishment was for the advancement of science including life and physical sciences, medicine, engineering, mathematics, social science and technology, with the purpose for providing for sustained national development.


Mr Speaker, in order to enhance innovations in the various science fields, the academy developed policy documents in 2016, which were to be operationalised through the Zambia Academy of Sciences 2016/2019 Strategic Plan.


Sir, to effectively implement this strategic plan, the need for a legal framework that will support the work of the Zambia Academy of Sciences has arisen. It is from this understanding that the Zambia Academy of Sciences Bill, No. 17 of 2020 has been presented.


Mr Speaker, while the Committee welcomes this Bill, it has some concerns which I will now highlight.


Sir, the Committee is greatly concerned that the definition of science has excluded other fields such as technology, engineering and mathematics considering that the country is now implementing the Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) programmes in schools. The Committee notes that this is a very serious omission and, therefore, recommends that the definition of science be broadened and should include technology, engineering and mathematics.


Mr Speaker, the Committee is also greatly concerned that the composition of the governing council does not include the position of the executive director. The position of the executive director should not be viewed as a mere functionary, but it should rather be held by a person who is eminent in a particular field. The Committee, therefore, recommends that the composition of the governing council be revised to include the executive director as a non-voting member.


Sir, the Committee is also concerned that Clause 11/4 provides that five members of the governing council can form a quorum for a meeting. This has the potential to create confusion, especially where non-office bearing members can meet and transact business. In this vein, the Committee recommends that the presence of the executive director or his/her representative, for instance the legal counsel, should be mandatory at every meeting.


Mr Speaker, with regard to the finances of the academy, Clause 16 provides that the finances of the academy will be made up of money paid to the academy by way of fees, grants or donations. Going by this statement, there is no sustainable Government grant which will be allocated to the academy for its operations. The Committee strongly recommends that an appropriate provision be made in the Bill for Government grants to be allocated to the academy.


Sir, the Committee is greatly concerned that the Bill has not provided protection of the academy’s intellectual property. One wonders how the work of the academy will be protected without a Clause which will address this concern. The Committee, therefore, strongly recommends that a clause be inserted in the Bill which will guarantee protection of the intellectual property of the academy by way of a provision in the Act.


Mr Speaker, in conclusion, allow me to render my sincere gratitude to you and the Clerk of the National Assembly and her staff for the guidance and support services rendered to the Committee throughout its deliberations.


I thank you, Sir.


Dr Musokotwane (Liuwa): Mr Speaker, I want to make some brief remarks on this proposed Bill for the Zambia Academy of Sciences.


Sir, I want the hon. Minister to clarify certain things concerning this Bill. The most important clarification should be on the relationship between the Zambia Academy of Sciences and the National Council for Scientific Research (NCSR) as it was formerly known, but at present, it is called the National Institute for Scientific and Industrial Research (NISIR).


Mr Speaker, I recall the functions of NISIR and some of those that are being proposed for the academy are very similar. I recall that one of the functions of NISIR in the olden days was to develop sciences, technology and new products, and it developed coal briquettes so as to reduce charcoal burning. I also remember that tiptop was made to substitute coca-cola and fanta.


Sir, the hon. Minister talked about the promotion of technology and development. Certainly, I see a connection between what NISIR does and what is being proposed. Unless the hon. Minister corrects me to show that what I am thinking is wrong, then, I am left wondering as to why we are trying to replicate an institution that is already there. Even if it has been stated that there is no provision for the academy to receive Government funding, I doubt if that will be the case, and the Government will be under pressure to fund it.


Mr Speaker, I said that I will be brief. However, just so I am comforted, I just want the hon. Minister to clarify whether we are not just changing the name of the institution, but there is something additional that we are proposing.


I thank you, Sir.


Mr Ngulube (Kabwe Central): Mr Speaker, I thank you for this opportunity to contribute to the debate on the Bill, and I will be very brief.


Sir, this initiative is a welcome move, but I have a concern. It appears all our brilliant ideas always end up in institutions and nothing happens. Very soon, we will end up having an institution for almost every aspect of science. However, I would like to see the proposed institution work hand-in-hand with the institutions that already exist. For example, I know that there is an institution undertaking nuclear science research and another one doing agriculture research, and there are many other institutions. So, we would like to see the new institutions work hand in hand with those that already exist. If I had it my way, I would suggest that we merge them so that we have one body of science, and all our scientists can brainstorm and give us hope in many things. As we might all be aware, the world is now moving away from the conventional way of studying science. We are now embracing high-technology and ultra science.


Mr Speaker, we would also like to see many intellectual properties being protected. Many Zambians who are technocrats work abroad and some of them are scientists, but they will not come back home to give the country part of its share of their knowledge. So, probably, we should have an alumni institution that will link up some of these –


Mr Nkombo: On a point of order, Sir.


Mr Speaker: A point of order is raised.


Mr Nkombo: Mr Speaker, I am grateful. My point of order is pursuant to our Standing Orders –


Mr Ngulube: Are you not apologising?


Mr Speaker: Go ahead.


Mr Nkombo: Sir, in our Standing Orders, there is a provision for personal explanations, and precedent has shown us here in this House that once upon a time when Her Honour the Vice-President erroneously voted with us, the next day, she came – and in accordance with the Standing Orders, she was allowed a slot for a personal explanation and that matter was buried.


Mr Speaker, on Friday, two Members of Parliament, namely, Hon. Dr Musokotwane, and the Whip for the United Party for National Development (UPND), the Leader of the Opposition and Member for Monze Central, Hon. Jack Mwiimbu, asked Her Honour the Vice-President specific questions as to whether or not Zambia was going to make a payment in view of the due-date of payment of interests for the bonds.


Sir, on both occasions, Her Honour the Vice-President responded in the affirmative and said that while the matter lies in the Ministry of Finance, Zambia was not defaulting. Clearly, Zambia has now defaulted. I want to find out if Her Honour the Vice-President is in order to remain quiet without coming to this House with an explanation for misleading the country on Friday, 13th November, 2020, by stating that Zambia was not defaulting on the interest.


Mr Speaker, I seek your ruling on this matter.


Mr Speaker: Order!


My ruling is that this matter has been under review, and as soon as tomorrow, the appropriate hon. Minister will issue a statement. So, the statement will be given tomorrow.


Continue hon. Member for Kabwe Central and Deputy Government Chief Whip.


Mr Ngulube: Mr Speaker, I was actually whispering to my brother to apologise for interrupting me, but he did not. I will proceed.


Sir, I was saying that there are many Zambians who are scientists who have actually performed extremely well world over. We are hopeful that when the academy is established and a board is put in place, we will take advantage of some of our citizens serving on similar boards. However, it would be nice to amalgamate some of the research institutions so that we have one focus. I know for instance that here in Zambia, there are laws that relate to almost anything, but how many people enforce such laws and who is guarding research institutions? For instance, when the academy is created, who will make sure that it fulfils its mandate? So, we do not want to be a country that is full of laws, but very little enforcement.


Mr Speaker, as I wind up, allow me to add that research has now become part of our lives and that is why our colleagues in advanced countries respect it. We cannot have a university without researchers to teach science, yet here at Parliament, we have researchers. So, research institutions must be focused and they must give us an indication of what will happen in the few years to come. They must actually be able to stir away possible calamities.


Sir, I am aware of nuclear science. We used to think it was impossible for radioactivity to be practiced in Zambia, but we are now seeing how all the fields of science are growing. So, I hope and trust that the academy that was already created will not be one of the white elephants that we see in our laws, which will just be established, put on the shelf and the matter ends.


Mr Speaker, with those few remarks, I thank you most sincerely, and I also thank the Chairperson and the hon. Members who have debated.


I thank you, Sir.


Mr Speaker: I will take the last two contributions from the hon. Member for Keembe and the hon. Minister of Fisheries and Livestock.


Ms Kasune (Keembe): Mr Speaker, thank you for giving me this opportunity to add my voice to the debate on the Bill.


Sir, I would like to adopt some of the observations made by other hon. Members, but let me re-emphasise one or two points.


Mr Speaker, the background of the Bill talks about the promotion of technology discoveries as well as innovations. I stand to be corrected, but the Chairperson of the Committee on Education, Science and Technology talked about narrowing, in terms of what is being considered in science in the Bill and that it has excluded Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM). I am just wondering why the Chairperson observed that, yet somehow, the background of the Bill talks about the technological innovations that the Bill will try to cure. So, that is one observation that I have made.


Mr Speaker, secondly, in addition to what Hon. Tutwa Ngulube said, I want to say that the protection of the intellectual property in our country is very poor. When we talk about intellectual property, it is not just to protect it for the country, per se, but also to protect individual intellectual properties. If the policies of the Government are not very aggressive when it comes to copyright and protecting innovations, the bright minds behind those innovations will take their ideas to other countries. Most of these innovations can bring benefits to, not only families but to the country as well. We know that for the longest time, there have been debates about the brain-drain of Africa. However, the innovators will not see Zambia as a place where to come up with innovative ideas, if this issue is not addressed.




Ms Kasune: Sir, people can argue but the bottom line is that most of these people who have so much to do in our country will leave for greener pastures because they will be offered better incentives. Consequently, that will affect our country. That is why it is very critical to protect the intellectual property of these people who may bring such benefits to the country.


Sir, as I conclude, I want to say that the other side of the story is that we need to ensure that we do not just look at people as those who have benefited from being in Zambia and now, they are out. So, in as much as there is brain drain, a term that many of us have come to be knowledgeable about, there is also a possibility that the Zambia Academy of Sciences can actually be innovative by making sure that there is brain gain. What do I mean by that? The new schools of thought are arguing that instead of us complaining about the brain-drain, we can begin to say, how can we gain from the exposure that Zambians have gained from outside the country, from those who left? They could have minds which were raw when they left the country because they were beginners but they have now been exposed to many things in other countries. How can they bring that expertise back and still be protected, celebrated, and add value to the country, and also practice what this Bill is trying to achieve.


Mr Speaker, I think that the issue of having think-tanks is very critical for our country. A lot of African countries that have gained from the expertise of their citizens in the diaspora are those who do not, necessarily, demonise people who leave their country. Instead, they appreciate that when their citizens return to their countries, they would have mastered a lot of skills which they may not have had if they had just stayed in their country. I think it is a two-way thing. It is not only about how we need to protect the intellectual property within the country but it is also about how to attract people outside the country to come back to their own country. We need to give them incentives, motivate and celebrate them. Sometimes, all what the people are looking for is recognition and celebration. That way, the country at large will benefit.


I thank you, Mr Speaker.


Mr Speaker: The last intervention will be from the hon. Minister of Fisheries and Livestock.


The Minister of Fisheries and Livestock (Prof. Luo): Mr Speaker, I thank you for giving me this opportunity to debate the Bill on the Floor on the establishment of the Zambia Academy of Sciences by law.


Mr Speaker, in fact, listening from the people who have just debated, I want to say that the whole essence of an academy of science is to bring all the fields of sciences together instead of what is happening in Zambia, where the health scientists and engineers are on their own. So, the academy of sciences is by membership and it brings all the scientists to work and think together and advise the hon. Minister responsible for education, science and technology on issues of science. This means that all issues of innovation will be at the core because the scientists are thinking together. Therefore, this Bill is extremely important for Zambia because science will be at a totally different wave length in this country.


Sir, there is a distinct difference between institutions such as the National Institute for Scientific and Industrial Research (NISIR). NISIR is an implementing agency on hard science, just like we have, maybe, the health scientists being implementers on hard sciences or the nuclear scientists being hard implementers. The academy brings all the think-tanks of science together and they can then spur and steer growth in science in Zambia. What I think this academy is going to do, is that it is going to actually change the whole scenario, in Zambia, regarding science.


Mr Speaker, everything we do in life is science. Unfortunately, if we do not bring it together and make people appreciate it, we will have a problem. For example, if I am planning a journey, that is science. There is no way I am going to go, for example, to Nakonde by first of all going to Mufulira because I will be using two sides of a triangle. So, the choice will be from here, straight through Mpika into Nakonde because I am using the hypotenuse. So, it will even help other fields such as planning for this country. Therefore, this academy is very critical and that is why immediately in its establishment, we are not only talking about the national academy but also the young academies so that we start pulling the young scientists immediately, to start looking at the country, differently. Since it is a membership academy, even those in the diaspora can be part of it.


Sir, that way, they can bring their intellectual ability and critical thinking into the national academy of Zambia for as long as they are Zambians. So, the hon. Minister is spot on in as far as this Bill is concerned. This is a very important initiative for the country because it is going to change the way we think. In fact, when we talk about science in this academy, we are not only talking about hard scientists or health scientists, we are also talking about social scientists so that there is an interface between the social scientists and the hard scientists.


Mr Speaker, for example, in my own ministry, I have all these veterinary scientists and fisheries scientists, but for us to even stop all this abuse of water, we need social scientists such as anthropologists so that they can live in the communities and start understanding people’s behaviours. So, that science comes to the table through the science academy because the scientists in the academy will be able to look at things like that and say that the Ministry of Fisheries and Livestock cannot deal with this by using only hard scientists. It needs social scientists on the table as well. So, this is what it is. Probably, some of the recommendations that were being given to the hon. Minister are already taken care of through the actual document that is talking to the Zambia Academy of Sciences and all the issues of innovation.


Sir, the innovation hubs in Zambia will soon start being created all over the country because the technologies and the critical thinkers now will be able to come to the different parts of the country and think about the different things and innovate them. Through the innovation hubs, these things can now get to industry and Zambia will be a totally different place.


Mr Speaker, I, therefore, want to support this Bill, and I think it is going to change the whole science agenda of this country.


I thank you, Mr Speaker.


Dr Mushimba: Mr Speaker, I take the concerns, comments and also noted the support from all those who have debated. I take the debate of the hon. Minister, who just spoke, Professor Nkandu Luo as my own. She has ably spoken about many issues that were raised, which I was going to talk about. In the interest of time, I will not repeat what has already been said.


Mr Speaker, in winding up debate, I just want to emphasise one point, that the academy of science is an independent body that scientists will pull resources through. It will advise both the Government and the private sector players. Unlike institutions such as NISIR that are purely Government institutions, have commercialised research. This institution will be independent, membership based and it will be an over-arching umbrella where scientists will anchor their trade. It is something that is necessary now. It is in line with the international practices, and Zambia will align with many other regional and international countries in establishing this academy that will house all the scientists and promote science in the country.


I thank you, Sir.


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


Committed to a committee of the Whole House.


Committee on Thursday, 26th November, 2020.




The National Council for Construction Bill, 2020


Report adopted.


Third Reading on Wednesday, 18th November, 2020.









VOTE 27 – (Public Service Management Division – K31,091,746)


(Consideration resumed)


The Vice-President (Mrs Wina): Madam Chairperson, when business was suspended on Friday, 13th November, 2020, I was about to give details on the following:


Establishment Control


Madam Chairperson, I am happy to report that the division verified, updated and published the 2021 Public Service Establishment Register to support estimates of expenditure on personal emoluments for the financial year, 2021.


Terms and Conditions of Service


Madam Chairperson, in view of the ongoing, human resource management reforms and the enactment of the Employment Code Act No. 3 of 2019, the division facilitated the revision of the following non-legislative documents:


  1. the terms and conditions of service;
  2. the disciplinary code and procedure for handling offences in the Public Service; and
  3. the grievance handling procedures for the Public Service.


Extension of Collective Agreement


Madam Chairperson, in its quest to maintain industrial harmony in the Public Service, the Government, through the division, resolved with Public Service unions to extend the 2019 collective agreements from 31st June, 2020, to 31st December, 2020.




Madam Chairperson, the division facilitated the retirement of 459 Public Service employees in accordance with their respective preferred options.


The Government of Zambia Funeral Assistant Scheme


Madam Chairperson, during the period under review, the division implemented the Government of the Republic Zambia (GRZ) funeral assistant scheme with a view of providing financial relief to the bereaved Government employees. To this effect, a sum in excess of K30,000,000 was accessed by bereaved Public Service employees or their appointed beneficiaries in form of funeral assistance benefits.


Treasury Authority


Madam Chairperson, the division facilitated the issuance of Treasury authorities at an estimated annual cost of K182,700,000. Notably, the Ministry of Health was granted Treasury authority to recruit 1,554 frontline medical personal to scale up the fight against the Coronavirus Disease-2019 (COVID-19).


Records Management


Madam Chairperson, the division co-ordinated the implementation of public service management to facilitate time and informed decision-making. To this effect, the division conducted capacity building activities on records management in various ministries and provinces.


Challenges and Mitigating Measures


Madam Chairperson, in view of the COVID-19 pandemic, the division had to scale down the implementation of programmes and activities.


2021 Policy Direction and Key Programmes Planned for Implementation


Madam Chairperson, the summary estimates by economic classifications show that K31,907,746 has been allocated to the division. Out of the total allocation, K23,578,770 representing 75.8 per cent has been allocated to personal emoluments. The remaining amount of K7,512,976 representing 24.2 per cent is meant for operations and programmes implementation. From the foregoing, you will note that the 2021 personal emoluments allocations have decreased by 21 per cent. The decrease is attributed to the realignment of the payroll management function to the Ministry of Finance.


Madam Chairperson, in the financial year 2021, the division will focus on the provision of technical support on delegated and developed human resource functions in the Public Service. Further, the division will strengthen establishment control mechanisms to ensure industrial harmony and cordial labour relations as well as adherence to the said records in the human resource management systems and procedures.


In this regard, the division will focus on the following programmes:


(a)        coordinate human resource development for enhanced capacity of the Public Service to deliver services;


(b)        conduct human resource audit in order to ensure that personal emoluments are within approved budgetary allocations;


(c)        cascade performance contracts to lower levels of management in order to enhance employment accountability and performance;


(d)        sensitise ministries, provinces and spending agencies on the revised terms and conditions of service to ensure adherence to the said terms and conditions of service;


(e)        build capacity in public service institutions to effectively and efficiently implement delegated and devolved human resource management functions; and


(f)         timely recruitment and placement of employees in the Civil Service to ensure optimal staffing levels.



Expected Overall Impact of 2021 Programmes


Madam Chairperson, with the implementation of the outlined programmes and activities by the division, it is expected that the Public Service will be able to efficiently and effectively deliver services. It is also expected that the devolution of some human resource management functions will result in improved service delivery.




Madam Chairperson, in conclusion, I wish to reiterate that the role of the division is to coordinate the management and development of human resource in the Public Service. This august House will, therefore, agree with me that the success of any national development programme is dependent on competent human resource in the Public Service. Consequently, I urge this august House to favourably consider the division’s estimates of expenditure for 2021.


Madam Chairperson, I thank you.


Dr Kopulande (Chembe): Madam Chairperson, I thank you for giving me the opportunity to open debate on this very important division of the Government. Usually, when I debate issues to do with the Civil Service, I debate with passion simply because I understand and know that it is the raw material for an effective Government. In the absence of an efficient and functionally active Civil Service, there can be no productivity in the Government and no matter how good the intentions of the Government, its capacity to deliver to the people on its promises will be highly compromised.


Madam Chairperson, in this process of creating a Civil Service, it is the Public Service Management Division (PSMD) that sits at the centre. It sits at the centre of the Civil Service not only in identifying and finding the best brains to help the Government deliver its services to the people, but is responsible for discipline and movement of staff to the best places that they are needed. We, therefore, have a very important institution here.


Madam Chairperson, this Government of the Patriotic Front (PF) has moved to bring Government closer to the people through the creation of new districts and, in doing so, has been undertaking initiatives that will change the livelihoods of the people, especially in rural areas.


Madam Chairperson, allow me at this point to thank the hon. Minister of Livestock and Fisheries who was in Chembe yesterday afternoon, delivering goats and chickens to support the people of Chembe through the co-operatives that we have created so as to rearrange their livelihoods and make them more meaningful and not only depend on fisheries.


Hon. PF Members: Hear, hear!


Dr Kopulande: Madam Chairperson, these efforts will not bear fruits if the PSMD cannot provide the necessary personnel to support the effort of this Government to ensure that these initiatives being undertaken actually take place.


Madam Chairperson, let me give you an example. In Chembe, the Department of Fisheries and Livestock has a total establishment of seventeen staff. However the staff recruited as at now is only standing at five with a shortfall of twelve in a new rural district. So, how will the Government achieve its intended objectives to change the lifestyle of the people? To demonstrate the point, we have in the establishment, one Livestock Production and Extension Officer, but do not have one. We have in the establishment a Livestock Production Officer, but do not have one. We have two Livestock Assistants in the establishment, but do not have one. There is one Fisheries Technician in the establishment and we have one.  The establishment provides for three Aquaculture Officers, but we do not have one. For veterinary officers, who are critical to the livestock system, we have an establishment of one, but do not have one.


Madam Chairperson, here is a situation that demonstrates that no matter the well intentioned interventions of the Government, as long as the Civil Service is not performing, we will not produce the intended results.


The Chairperson: Order!


The hon. Member’s time expired.


Mr Mbangweta (Nkeyema): Madam Chairperson, I would like to agree with the previous speaker that the Public Service Management Division (PSMD) is not performing. This is why this Government and this country are headed nowhere. The reason is simple. Officers in the Civil Service, for some reason, have allowed themselves to be run by politicians. As a result, they are failing to manage things properly.


Madam Chairperson, we have been told that this division is in charge of performance management in the Civil Service. Contrary to that, it has failed to set and implement standards. That is why we can even have ministerial statements which do not reflect the fact that the Civil Service is working towards achieving set standards. The reason is simple. The system has become so pervasive that instead of doing their jobs, civil servants are scared. This is because of the way the system has come to operate. The recruitment process is based on cronyism and not qualifications. That is why ministries are not delivering. The people at the centre have failed to achieve anything.


Madam Speaker, if there was any doubt about it, look at the money that has been given to the PSMD. It has been allocated only K7 million to implement those very critical systems in the Public Service which are supposed to improve public service delivery and yet it has people at the centre who should be listened to. The fact that they can be given money which is so little means that even the performance management system is not respected. That is why you have senior Government officials at Permanent Secretary (PS) level who leave their offices to go into the field to politick instead of delivering the service.


Madam Chairperson, now, you have hon. Ministers who are policy makers who go to do tedious work which is supposed to be done by people in offices. Why is this so? It is because their power and capacity have been reduced to mere clerks. As a result, there is no value which is being added to the system.


Madam Chairperson, why would you employ people who are not qualified for jobs but expect them to deliver? The same process has permeated the entire civil service. The Public Service Management Division (PSMD) deals with retirement, but why is it allowing politicians to break the terms and conditions of service of people, subdue them and take different actions against them for things they have not done? People are seated at the PSMD and are getting paid. We are losing money by paying people who are not adding value to the system. It would be better if they helped this country by advising politicians because that is why they went to school.


Madam Chairperson, the PSMD of today is different from the one we knew before. These days, the people in that division are more educated than the people who used to be there in the past. However, the people who used to be there knew exactly what needed to be done. For example, when the National Registration Card (NRC) process was being done, half of the constituencies were left out, but we have a system which has a performance management contracts. What are you performing and assessing there? Why would you allow people to set targets which cannot be followed? Even here, they have allowed institutions to set targets which are not realistic. The people at PSMD can see that the systems cannot work. They have not piloted the systems, but they are allowing politicians to make decisions and they are following them instead of saying, “No, do not go that route because that route is expensive, it will take time, and it will not bring the agreed and expected outputs.”


Madam Chairperson, when you have illiterate people in offices, whether they are your relatives or not, they will not bring the required things because they do not have the capacity. You cannot employ people from the same region as if those from other regions have never gone to school. No wonder why things are not working well. This is because when it comes to taking disciplinary action, for example, people say, “That is my relative, he is my uncle or my what.” What about people from the other regions? People in those regions have been to school, but we have people from only one region who are being employed.


The Chairperson: Order!


The hon. Member’s time expired.


Ms Subulwa (Sioma): Madam Chairperson, thank you.


Madam, I would like to state that I support the vote. However, I would like to appeal to the Public Service Management Division (PSMD) to put more effort in its operations.


Madam, the first issue I would like to talk about has to do with the assignment of many officers to one position, which is causing many complaints out there. People are saying that they are posted to a particular station, but they are not placed on the payroll. This happens probably because there was no proper co-ordination at the point when the PSMD was processing the appointment letter for that particular person. So, at the time a person reports, there are two or three other people assigned to one position. That is creating unnecessary confusion.


Madam, the other issue I would like to talk about is decentralisation. I appeal to the Government to consider decentralisation of confirmations. There is no way we can have the PSMD still handling confirmations which can be done at institutional level. It is at institutional level where we have supervisors who can do assessments and know whether an officer who was appointed is fit to continue working in the Civil Service. I would like to appeal to the Government to consider that.


Madam Chairperson, the other issue is late disciplinary cases. I think the PSMD has to improve in this area. If it is having a challenge, it can consider getting officers from different ministries to be attached to the PSMD to help process certain cases.


Madam, the other issue I want to talk about is delayed processing of contracts. This has been going on for some time, even when I was in the Civil Service. If there is any particular area where the PSMD has not done so well even in the past, it is the processing of contracts because it takes so long. Maybe there is need to work around the requirements for processing contracts and assign a time-frame for processing these particular contracts.


Madam Chairperson, there is also the issue of promotions. It is like only people who are in the urban areas are being promoted and the people in the rural areas are being left out. Is it that the people in the rural areas are not performing? The answer is no. They are performing, but it is because the PSMD is not taking into consideration, the recommendations that are being made by the institutions where they are coming from.


Madam, another issue is the missing of files. I have heard several times on this Floor hon. Members complaining about corruption associated with politicians. Corruption is actually right there where the civil servants are and it starts at the lower levels. A file going missing or deliberately holding onto somebody’s file is not right. So, that should stop. When you go to the PSMD and ask for a particular file, you are told that the file is not there. However, the moment somebody does something, the file will be seen within seconds. This also should stop. Maybe the PSMD should consider transferring some people or do a rotation of some kind just to cure that particular issue.


Madam Chairperson, there is also the issue of transfers. We also want to hear that this division is transferring people from rural areas into urban areas and from urban areas into rural areas. Transfers are supposed to be a two-way thing unlike what we are seeing where only those in the urban areas are being transferred to maybe, better places. For those in rural areas, once they are posted there, they are allowed to rot. So I think the PSMD needs to look into those areas.


 Madam, finally, we have been talking about the diversification of the economy for quite some time now. We have actually picked certain sectors like agriculture where this needs to be done, but we are not thinking about recruiting more extension officers to boost the agriculture sector. So, I am appealing to the Government to consider appointing more agriculture extension officers.


I thank you, Madam Chairperson.


Mr Kabanda (Serenje): Madam Chairperson, thank you very much for according me an opportunity to debate the budget line for the Public Service Management Division (PSMD). The PSMD is the engine room through which the Government’s performance is accessed. It is the mirror through which the Government’s performance is seen by outsiders on how efficient the system is working.


Madam, the PSMD can only deliver efficiently if it has well qualified staff with lean staffing levels that are able to deliver to the expectations of the public. Unfortunately, this PSMD lacks the necessary requirements in terms of financial and human resources and other requisites to deliver efficiently. I will cite the example of the budget that we are debating today, which is K7 million. Is this K7 million for talk time or fuel? I wonder how a system that is also taking care of the Office of the Vice-President and offices of former Presidents can operate with a paltry K7 million. I do not think that we are serious in the manner that we are disbursing resources to such an important institution.


I think there is a need to engage the Chancellor of the Exchequer or the hon. Minister of Finance to ensure that more resources are given to the PSMD. The people in the Civil Service are the ones running Government affairs and without them, none of us can exist. It is, therefore, important that the hon. Minister of Finance reviews the budget provision for the PSMD.


Madam Chairperson, one of my colleagues talked about poor record-keeping. I think this whole thing boils down to Information Communication Technology (ICT). There has been a slow uptake on the application of ICT by the officers in the PSMD. Once they get acquainted with the use of ICT systems, they will be able to capture all the information on the respective worker’s files and have a backup in the event that a file goes missing.


Madam Chairperson, I feel that the transfer of staff is an affront to the fight against HIV/AIDS in this country. An officer may be operating in Mbala whereas the wife in Livingstone. How can a person apply himself/herself fully when the family is elsewhere? So, we should review our policy in terms of the transfer of staff. Previously, we had a situation where, if I am posted to Solwezi today, my wife who is also working will present my transfer letter to her employers to show that her husband has been moved to another station and the Government will oblige and send her to where the husband has been sent. However, today, that is not the case and this is affecting performance, delivery of services and causing mischief on the part of irresponsible husbands or wives.


Madam Chairperson, the implementation of the National Decentralisation Policy is another issue that –


The Chairperson: Order!


The hon. Member’s time expired.


Mrs Mazoka was inaudible.


The Vice-President: Madam Chairperson, a number of issues have been raised by the hon. Members who debated on the budget for the Public Service Management Division (PSMD).


Madam Chairperson, let me assure the House that there is no political interference in the running of the PSMD or the Public Service in general. I think this is a perception that some hon. Members may have regarding the running of the Civil Service in the country.


Madam Chairperson, regarding the issue of decentralisation of human resource at lower level, it has already started in the provinces. There are already local teams in Luapula Province, the North-Western Province and Central Province who are handling confirmations.


Madam Chairperson, on missing files, the division will be computerising records to avoid missing files.


Madam Chairperson, on the other issues expressed, let me just say that the PSMD is doing its best to ensure that the issues in the Civil Service are handled efficiently.


Madam Chairperson, I would like to thank all the hon. Members for supporting the budget for the PSMD.


I thank you, Madam Chairperson.


Vote 27 ordered to stand part of the Estimates.


The Chairperson: Order!






[MR SPEAKER in the Chair]


(Progress reported)



The House adjourned at 1658 hours until 1430 on Wednesday, 18thNovember, 2020.