Tuesday, 24th November, 2020

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Tuesday, 24th November, 2020


The House met at 1430 hours


[MR SPEAKER in the Chair]











Mr Speaker: Hon. Members will recall that on Thursday, 12th November, 2020, when the House was considering Question for Oral Answer No. 62 on the Order Paper, and Hon. J. J. Mwiimbu, Leader of the Opposition and Member of Parliament for Monze Central Parliamentary Constituency, was asking a follow-up question, Mr C. Chali, the hon. Member of Parliament for Nchanga Parliamentary Constituency, raised the following point of order:


“Mr Speaker, three weeks ago, after a question that I asked in Parliament on the liquidation of the Konkola Copper Mines (KCM) Plc, the hon. Minister of Mines and Minerals Development gave a response in which he promised that he was going to come back to Parliament with a detailed statement.


“Mr Speaker, the people in Chingola, Chililabombwe, Kitwe and Nampundwe have been anxiously waiting for the statement, which is not forthcoming. Is the hon. Minister in order to keep quiet whilst people are still waiting for the statement? I seek your serious ruling, Sir.”


Hon. Members, in my immediate response, I reserved my ruling to enable me peruse the verbatim record of the proceedings on the material day. I have since perused the relevant verbatim record, and now render my ruling as follows:


Hon. Members, the verbatim record of the proceedings of the House for Tuesday, 6th October, 2020, reveal that the genesis of the point of order is the response to Question for Oral Answer No. 42, which was asked by Mr C. Chali, MP, to the hon. Minister of Mines and Minerals Development. The relevant part of the question read as follows:


42. Mr Chali (Nchanga) to ask the Minister of Mines and Minerals Development:


  1. what the status of the liquidation process of Konkola Copper Mines was, as of July, 2020; …”


In response to this part of the question, Hon. R. Musukwa, MP, Minister of Mines and Minerals Development, responded as follows:


“Mr Speaker, the Government will present a comprehensive statement over the liquidation of Konkola Copper Mines (KCM) at an appropriate time at the instance of the Hon. Mr Speaker’s authority …”


Hon. Members, from the foregoing, it is self-evident that the hon. Minister undertook to give a comprehensive report to the House on the status of the liquidation of KCM at a later date. What is also clear is that the hon. Minister did not indicate the day when he would render the said ministerial statement to the House.


In view of this, I find that the hon. Minister was not out of order for not having rendered the ministerial statement to date. However, given the time lapse since the undertaking was made and in order to expedite the process, I hereby direct the hon. Minister of Mines and Minerals Development to render a comprehensive statement on the status of the liquidation of KCM to the House on Thursday, 26th November, 2020.


I thank you.








The Minister of Home Affairs (Mr Kampyongo): Mr Speaker, let me start by thanking you for giving me this opportunity to issue a ministerial statement on the 2020 Mobile Issuance of National Registration Cards (NRCs). The exercise was intended to provide access to the acquisition of NRCs by citizens who have attained the age of sixteen years and above, especially those who cannot easily reach district national registration offices.


Sir, the Ministry of Home Affairs, through the Department of National Registration Passport and Citizenship, is charged with the responsibility of conducting national and civil registration as well as the issuance of travel documents. The department also facilitates the acquisition of citizenship. The mandate is derived from the National Registration Act Cap 126, the Passport Act No. 28 of 2016, the Citizenship Act No. 33 of 2016, the Birth and Death Registration Act Cap 151, the Marriage Act Cap 50 and the Adoptions Act Cap 54 of the Laws of Zambia, and in addition, the supreme document of the land, the Constitution.


Mr Speaker, national registration entails registration of all eligible persons and issuing them with appropriate registration cards as legal identity in accordance with the National Registration Act Cap 126 of the Laws of Zambia. This undertaking is conducted on a continuous and outreach basis.


Sir, between 1st August and 4th November, 2020, outreach activities were conducted in form of a Mobile National Registration Exercise. This undertaking was carried out countrywide in a two-phased approach of which each covered five provinces.


Mr Speaker, Phase I involved the Northern Province, Luapula Province, the Eastern Province, the North-Western Province and Copperbelt Province, and it was flagged off on 1st August, 2020. Owing to logistical challenges experienced during the first two weeks, the exercise was extended by ten days and ended on 19th September, 2020. Phase II covered the Western Province, the Southern Province, Central Province, Muchinga Province and Lusaka Province, and started on 20th September, 2020. Phase II was extended by five days and it ended on 4th November, 2020.


Sir, during my last ministerial statement on the Floor of this august House, I assured hon. Members that I would issue a comprehensive statement on the 2020 Mobile Issuance of NRCs after completing Phase II of the exercise. In this regard, I wish to highlight the successes of this undertaking.


Mr Speaker, the Ministry of Home Affairs planned to issue 1.5 million NRCs to eligible Zambians. I am happy to inform this august House and the nation at large that 1,592,974 NRCs were issued between 1st August and 4th November, 2020, representing a 106 per cent overall success rate.


Sir, I want my hon. Colleagues to pay attention to the figures I will outline. The breakdown of the statistics is as follows:


Province                               Target                                Actual                          Performance

                                                                                       Issued                          Percentage


Eastern                                 210,000                             188,661                               90%


Muchinga                             90,000                               106,128                             118%


Northern                               110,000                             171,800                             156%


Luapula                                100,000                             181,041                             181%


Lusaka                                  240,000                             189,900                               79%


Copperbelt                           270,000                             250,072                               93%


Central                                 140,000                             202,758                             145%


North-Western                        80,000                            107,813                             135%


Western                                100,000                             51,557                                 52%


Southern                               160,000                             143,244                               90%


TOTAL                               1,500,000                          1,592,974                          106%


Sir, the total number of NRCs issued both to replace lost and damaged cards, including the issuance of new NRCs stands at 1,592,974, representing 106 per cent.


Mr Speaker, the success of the exercise is attributed to collaborative efforts by all stakeholders under the leadership of His Excellency the President of the Republic of Zambia, Mr Edgar Chagwa Lungu.


Sir, I also want to thank the hon. Minister of Finance for releasing the required resources to enable the ministry to successfully undertake this important exercise. Further, I want to thank the Provincial Ministers and their respective administrations for the support rendered and leadership provided in all the provinces and districts during the exercise. I will be failing in my duties if I do not thank you, the hon. Members of this august House, civic leaders in all wards and our traditional leaders, except for a few, for encouraging Zambians to obtain NRCs.


Mr Speaker, such a mammoth task could not have gone without challenges especially that the exercise was conducted under the new normal era. I want to take this opportunity to thank Her Honour the Vice-President of the Republic of Zambia for providing Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to the officers who were on the ground through the Disaster Management and Mitigation Unit (DMMU).


Sir, I also want to thank all officers who went out in the field, sleeping in classrooms and working awkward hours in order to serve their fellow citizens. As a result of the Coronavirus Disease-2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, delivery of materials and equipment by some suppliers was delayed due to the reduction of the number of cargo flights. This led to a slow start of Phase I of the exercise and the consequent extension of the same by ten days. Other challenges included politicising of the exercise by some stakeholders, especially politicians. Some people continued to attribute the national registration exercise to political activities.


Mr Speaker, the Government of the Republic of Zambia through the Ministry of Home Affairs is mandated by law to provide legal identity to all citizens aged sixteen and above. It is, therefore, not a political exercise. All Zambians have the right to obtain an NRC because it enables them to participate in various socio-economic activities and also allows them to exercise their civic rights. I, therefore, want to encourage all illegible persons that may not have been captured during the mobile registration exercise to visit the nearest National Registration Offices to obtain NRCs because it is their entitlement.


Mr Speaker, allow me to make a clarification on the temporary closure of the National Registration Offices in Lusaka District. On Friday, 20th November, 2020, some applicants who visited the Department of National Registration Passport and Citizenship headquarters tested positive to COVID-19. Following the said findings, the Disaster Management Team and DMMU together with the Ministry of Health responded immediately by disinfecting the premises and having all members of staff tested. As a result, the ministry suspended operations at all registration offices in Lusaka District. Further, on 23rd November, 2020, the Ministry of Home Affairs closed all the offices in the Southern Province for a day to facilitate for an audit and ensure that the officers equally put measures in place to observe the health measures that have been prescribed.


Mr Speaker, in order to ensure that both members of staff and applicants are protected from contracting COVID-19, the ministry will continue to monitor the situation under the guidance of the Ministry of Health. In this regard, sub-district offices in Lusaka will be opened to members of the public on Wednesday, 25th November, 2020, on condition that everyone adheres strictly to COVID-19 health guidelines. The headquarters will remain closed until further notice. COVID-19 is real and we must ensure that citizens are protected as they access public services.


Mr Speaker, in conclusion, I want to inform this august House that district registration offices in all parts of the country will remain open and continue to issue NRCs on a routine basis. In addition, I wish to urge members of the public not to exert undue pressure on our officers as they discharge their duties. I, therefore, do not expect people to transport citizens in large numbers at any given time to our registration offices.


Mr Speaker, during the period of voter registration, no police report will be required for those who want to replace lost NRCs, more especially in rural areas, in order to encourage citizens to register as citizens and voters.


I thank you, Mr Speaker.






Mr Speaker: Hon. Members, before we proceed further, I would like to announce that in the absence of Her Honour the Vice-President, who is attending to other national duties, the Hon. Government Chief Whip, Hon. Brian Mundubile, Member of Parliament (MP), has been appointed Acting Leader of Government Business in the House from today, Tuesday, 24th November, 2020, until further notice.


I thank you.




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


Mr Sing’ombe (Dundumwezi): Mr Speaker, I thank the hon. Minister for the statement. May I know why Kalomo is one of the districts where the National Registration Cards (NRC) issuance has been suspended when the hon. Minister indicated that it was the headquarters that was visited by suspected Coronavirus Disease-2019 (COVID-19) patients?


Mr Kampyongo: Mr Speaker, I appreciate the hon. Member of Parliament for Dundumwezi for making time to be available when I visited the Southern Province to check on what was obtaining. He made himself available to address some of the challenges on the ground.


Mr Speaker, I indicated, in my statement, that the offices in the Southern Province were closed for a day in order to allow for an audit and make sure that the officers accounted for the materials they had used during the mobile registration exercise. It was also to plan for the numbers that were visiting the offices in terms of material and other activities. Further, that was aimed at planning to make sure that they put in place measures to prevent COVID-19. This is why Kalomo office was closed for a day just like other offices. Otherwise, operations have returned to normal.


Mr Speaker, I thank you.


Mr Mwiimbu (Monze Central): Mr Speaker, I would like to thank the hon. Minister for the statement he has issued, in particular that he has indicated that the closure was just for one day.


Mr Speaker, when I visited the National Registration Centre in Monze, I found that it was closed, and I was told that they were auditing, and that the closure was for two weeks. I did not just end there. I went to the District Commissioner’s (DC’s) office, and I was told the same thing. We tried to engage the provincial leadership pertaining to this matter. As you are aware, we have just been told by the hon. Minister that the Southern Province is one of those provinces where members of the public did not reach 100 per cent acquisition of National Registration Cards (NRCs).


Mr Speaker, having mentioned that, could the hon. Minister be categorical and direct his officers to continue with the exercise. Furthermore, they must ensure that members of the public do not meet any hurdles in acquiring NRCs. That is what has happened in the last one day the whole of the Southern Province, a scenario that has not happened in any other province.


Mr Speaker: Hon. Leader of Opposition, I was not able to follow your question.


Mr Mwiimbu: Mr Speaker, I have asked him to be categorical and state that effective from today, unlike the information that has been given to the public, the NRC offices will be open and members of the public will not have these hurdles because what has been happening is that there has not been any flow of information pertaining to this issue.


Mr Kampyongo: Mr Speaker, I can confirm that the hon. Leader of Opposition has been in contact with the district administration. The reason I brought this ministerial statement was to give an official position. I do not know how much categorical I can be. I have given an official position, and that is what stands.


I thank you, Sir.


Mr Mung’andu was inaudible.


Mr Speaker: I will move on.


Mr Mung’andu (Chama South): Mr Speaker, a number of areas in Muchinga Province are rural, and during that exercise, we had specific places where officials did not reach. It is almost rainy season and distances where people are supposed to acquire their National Registration Cards (NRCs) from are quite long. Places like Chama and Chasatu are about 145 km away. Is the Government considering sending mobile registration teams to ensure that our people get NRCs and ultimately participate in the civic duty of voting next year?


Mr Kampyongo: Mr Speaker, the mobile issuance of NRCs is a costly undertaking. We planned to work within the periods that were scheduled and the estimates were given to the Ministry of Finance. It would be very difficult for me to give an assurance to the hon. Member that we shall, again, send teams in the field when I am not sure of the resources to cover up for that undertaking. That is why I was encouraging that arrangements be made to ensure that people who could have been left out find access to the district offices.


Mr Speaker, I was only urging members of the public and hon. Colleagues not to take advantage of the situation. What we have seen in other areas is a situation where people are ferried in trucks and offloaded at small registration facilities. With the COVID-19 challenge, we have, we are saying that we should allow our officers to work in an environment that does not risk their lives and the lives of those accessing the services. So, it is just a matter of working out arrangements of making our people access the offices at the district level. Where we find a compelling need, arrangements can be made to try and see how we can attend to that. However, I cannot make an assurance without knowing how much the hon. Minister of Finance may give to us.


I thank you, Sir.


Mr Kamboni (Kalomo Central): Mr Speaker, what we normally hear in Parliament from the hon. Minister’s statements is not what exactly happens in stations where they get National Registration Cards (NRCs). In my constituency, not all the wards were covered during the mobile issuance of NRCs. In Kalomo, this is not the first time that instructions have been given for the NRC registration office not to issue on certain days. I have, on three occasions, gone there only to find the officers just seated and not doing what they are supposed to. Yet, here, we are being told that they are supposed to issue NRCs from Monday to Friday.


Mr Speaker, there is also an issue of a limited number of NRCs that officers have been told to produce per day, and not go beyond that. Why is it that statements that the hon. Minister gives in Parliament, differ from what happens in registration offices?


Mr Kampyongo: Mr Speaker, I want to pose the same question to the hon. Member. Why is it that hon. Members come to give different situations here in Parliament from what is obtaining on the ground?


Mr Speaker, the impression I got from our hon. Colleagues before I visited the Southern Province was as if nothing was happening. When I got to Kalomo, I was expecting the hon. Member for Kalomo Central to be available like the hon. Member for Dundumwezi, whom I acknowledged. He was able to move from Dundumwezi to come and meet me and the District Commissioner (DC) in Kalomo. I was expecting the hon. Member for Kalomo Central to be available, but he was not. In fact, what we discovered was that he had more teams than the hon. gentleman in Dundumwezi. So, I am surprised that he is trying to give another picture. It was an imbalance that we had to find a way of dealing with.


So, let us learn to engage. I have always said that we disadvantage our own people. At the end of the day, they are the ones who suffer because some of these problems were just as a result of lack of collaboration between district administrators and the representatives of the people, in this case, hon. Members of Parliament.


Sir, I only present to this House what is obtaining on the ground. That is why I take it upon myself to go and check. If the hon. Member was collaborative enough, I would have loved to meet him in Kalomo to address some of these challenges, just like I met the hon. Member of Parliament for Dundumwezi. So, let us not create scenarios. The 90 per cent performance is not so bad. I think there was improvement when I visited the area and a lot of work was done.


Mr Speaker, I also acknowledge the hon. Member of Parliament for Mazabuka, who made time to meet me as early as 6 o’clock. So, let us learn to collaborate and engage each other because we are all serving the same people.


I thank you, Sir.


Mr Lufuma (Kabompo): Mr Speaker, I am most grateful. I would like to thank the hon. Minister –


Ms Subulwa: On a point of order, Sir.


 Mr Speaker: A point of order is raised.


 Ms Subulwa: Mr Speaker, I thank you. According to my gadget, I am number two on the list. However, I just exchanged notes with the hon. Member of Parliament for Serenje and, according to his gadget, I am number eighteen.


Mr Speaker, my point of order is: Is this system reliable? I am now beginning to think that probably, even our colleagues who said that they had voted for the Constitution of Zambia (Amendment) Bill No. 10 of 2019, but their votes were not captured, could have had a good case because, to me, this system clearly shows that it is not reliable.


 I seek your serious ruling.


Mr Speaker: Hon. Member, according to my physical list, and I will explain how I have a physical list, you are number eighteen. You see, this system is working. Normally, what I do is that, as and when indications are being made, I also create another record based on what you are seeing so that I maintain it. So, I am, personally, very satisfied with the integrity of the system. It is a very dependable and reliable system. Certainly, if you were the second, I would have pointed at you. It is very dependable.


 Let us continue with our business.      


Mr Lufuma: Mr Speaker, I was saying that I would like to thank the hon. Minister for the elaborate statement. That is how it should be.


Sir, the hon. Minister bemoaned the fact that the whole exercise was politicised. Unfortunately, this exercise cannot be apolitical. It is simply not possible. It has to be political because of the timing of the issuance of the National Registration Cards (NRCs) –


Mr Speaker: What is your question?


Mr Lufuma: Mr Speaker, I will pass because I needed to explain.


Mr Speaker: Yes, you can pass. That is your liberty. Resume your seat.


Let me say this to the rest that this is an opportunity to clarify the statement. There should be no long prefaces or debate. This is not an opportunity to debate. It is an opportunity to clarify. If we continue at this rate, I will move on very quickly to another subject. This is not an occasion to debate. Ask a question. A question is a question and I am sure we are all familiar. It is very easy to frame a question.


Mr Chaatila (Moomba): Mr Speaker, before I pose my question, I must indicate that the hon. Minister did not give us the numbers for the Eastern Province. I listened very attentively up to the end. So, it would be good, if he gave us these numbers.


Mr Speaker, my question is –


Mr Speaker: Order!


Hon. Member for Moomba, let me assist you. What you should have done simply, following my guidance, is to ask the number for the Eastern Province and the hon. Minister would have responded. You cannot have it both ways. Is that your question?


Mr Chaatila: Mr Speaker, that is not my question.


Mr Speaker: Respond hon. Minister.


Mr Kampyongo: Mr Speaker, I think my dear colleagues joined us late because the first figures I gave were for the Eastern Province, but I will repeat. The targeted number for the Eastern Province was 210,000. The actual number of NRCs issued stands at 188,661, representing a performance of 90 per cent.


I thank you, Sir.


Mr Kabanda (Serenje): Mr Speaker, I thank the hon. Minister for the statement which has clarified a lot of issues. My concern is the statement that was issued by –


Mr Speaker: Order!


Hon. Member for Serenje, I want questions.


Mr Kabanda: Mr Speaker, I want to question the statement that came from one traditional leader in the Southern Province.


Mr Speaker: No, no. I just want a question.


Mr Kabanda: Mr Speaker, why was this particular chief explaining that the whole process is potentially explosive and that it may lead this country into some civil war?


Mr Speaker: Nothing of that sort was referred to in the hon. Minister’s statement. So, it is coming from somewhere else.


Dr Kopulande (Chembe): Finally, it has worked.


Mr Speaker, let me start by thanking the hon. Minister for having presented such a well-articulated statement with facts and figures. This is very commendable. In his statement, the hon. Minister thanked traditional rulers who encouraged their subjects to register as voters or to obtain the National Registration Cards (NRCs). However, he said, “traditional rulers except one”. Why did the hon. Minister make that exception on that one traditional ruler?


Mr Kampyongo: Mr Speaker, yes, I did allude to the fact that we had traditional leaders who collaborated very well with our officers on the ground while others also cast aspersions. That is why I made that exemption without mentioning names.


Sir, we had situations in the North-Western Province where some sub-chiefs wanted to have their names appear on NRCs where they are not gazetted. In the Southern Province, we had one traditional leader who was a bit negative about the exercise. It was very difficult for officers to collaborate with this chief.


Mr Speaker, even as late as today, I heard a very alarming statement from this traditional leader. His information was not based on facts. When people seek information, there are channels that are available. Traditional leaders are supposed to be parents to everybody. So, they should not be the first ones to engage in the issuance of alarming statements, like violence and fire.


Mr Speaker, when violence breaks out, even people in palaces take-off. They take to their heels. I, therefore, encourage traditional leaders to embrace everyone. Traditional leaders should not take strong sides. The sentiments that I got were more political in nature and this should not be encouraged.


Mr Speaker, indeed, most traditional leaders supported the exercise and those are the ones I commended. I did not want to get so much into details, but the hon. Member of Parliament prompted me to explain. Traditional leaders must understand their role of identifying their subjects. They must have village registers, for example, as was the case in the past so that they help the department of national registration, passport and citizenship to ensure that civil registration is only for Zambian citizens from birth up to the time of death. That is what we want traditional leaders to do. That is the role they should play in civil registration.


I thank you, Sir.










THE EXTRADITION (Amendment) BILL, 2020  


Clause 1 ordered to stand part of the Bill.


CLAUSE 2 – (Amendment of Section 6)


The Minister of Justice (Mr Lubinda): Madam Chairperson, I beg to move an amendment in Clause 2, in lines 14 to 17, by the deletion of subclause (2) and the substitution therefor of the following sub-clauses:


      (2)  The Attorney-General may apply simplified extradition

measures where the person sought by a requesting State consents

before a Magistrate to be surrendered to that State.


     (3)   The Attorney-General may, by statutory instrument,

prescribe measures for simplified extradition and for monitoring

the execution of a request made under this section.


Amendment agreed to. Clause amended accordingly.


Clause 2, as amended, ordered to stand part of the Bill.


Title agreed to.







[MR SPEAKER in the Chair]


The following Bill was considered at Committee Stage:


The Extradition (Amendment) Bill, 2020


Consideration of the Bill to be resumed on Friday, 27th November, 2020.   




The following Bills were read a third time and passed:


The Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters (Amendment) Bill, 2020


The Land (Perpetual Succession) (Amendment) Bill, 2020









VOTE 21 – (Loans and Investments – K13,555,860,128)


The Minister of Finance (Dr Ng’andu): Madam Chairperson, I thank you for the opportunity to present my policy statement on the 2021, estimates of expenditure for the Ministry of Finance, focusing on Vote 21.


Sir, Vote 21, which is Loans and Investments, derives its mandate from Part X of the Constitution of Zambia to implement Government policy on investment in projects and roads, subscriptions and contributions to international organisations, recapitalisation of State-owned Enterprises (SOEs) as well as the effective management of public investments in order to maximise returns on investments as mandated in the Government Gazette Notice No. 836 of 2016.


Madam Chairperson, the Ministry of Finance has the mandate to perform statutory functions that include preparation of the National Budget, economic management, resource mobilisation, debt management and public finance management. The ministry, therefore, has the critical responsibility of managing public resources in an effective, transparent and accountable manner so as to support sustainable national development.


Madam Chairperson, Vote 21 was allocated K13,555,860,128, to support three priority programmes namely:


  1. financial Investment Management;


  1. project Investment Management; and


  1. centralised Strategic Payments.


Financial Investment Management Programme


Madam Chairperson, Financial Investment Management has been allocated K2,067,329,017. This allocation is meant for recapitalisation and investment which is the main sub-programme under the Financial Investment Management programme. Of this amount, K2 billion has been provided to support financial restructuring while a provision of financing amounting to K41 million has been made under the Citizens Economic Empowerment Fund to support and facilitate access to financing for Micro-Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs). An additional K21.5 million has been allocated for the provision of credit to support agro businesses in an effort to stimulate economic recovery activity and employment.


Project Investment Management Programme


Madam Chairperson, the Project Investment Management Programme has been allocated K8.3 billion. This programme aims to manage and implement capital and non-capital projects and other Government initiatives and has three sub programmes.


  1. Road Infrastructure


This sub programme has been allocated K6.2 billion aimed at enhancing road and air transport in order to support access to markets. Under the road sector, Link Zambia 8000 is one of the major projects that will be undertaken and will involve upgrading of various roads across the country. Key projects include:


  1. improved rural connectivity project which targets the rehabilitation of approximately 4,314 kilometres of feeder road and network with support from the World Bank;


  1. Lusaka 400 kilometres Project Phase 3;


  1. Lusaka Decongestion Project;


  1. acrow bridge Project;


  1. Zambia Township Roads Project;


  1. rehabilitation of Mpika/Nakonde Road;


  1. rehabilitation of the Turnpike/Mazabuka Road;


  1. completion of Kitwe/Chingola Road; and


  1. construction of the Chongwe, Katete and Mwami Weighbridges as well as toll plazas at various sites.


  1. The Project Implementation Management


The Project Implementation Management is a sub programme which has been allocated K392 million. This amount will provide a strengthened medium term expenditure framework that will enhance budget credibility and predictability.


  1. The Capital Project


Madam Chairperson, this sub programme has been allocated K1.69 billion which will enable airport infrastructure at Kenneth Kaunda International Airport and Simon Mwansa Kapwepwe International Airport completed.


  1. The Centralised Strategic Payments Programme


The Centralised Strategic Payments Programme has been allocated K3.2 billion. Of this amount, K2.7 billion has been set aside under Dismantling of Arrears sub-programme. This amount will go towards liquidating the stock of arrears owed to various suppliers of goods and services. This is aimed at unlocking liquidity in the domestic economy and supporting local businesses.


Madam, an amount of K407 million has been set aside for contributions, subscriptions and other payments while K50 million has been allocated to the COVID-19 Vaccination Fund as seed money. This is in readiness for the procurement of a vaccine once it is produced and made available.


Madam Chairperson, I hope and believe that my submission has been elaborate enough to benefit hon. Members. I recommend Vote 21 – Loans and Investment, for favourable consideration and approval of this House.


Madam Chairperson, I thank you.


Dr Musokotwane (Liuwa): Madam Chairperson I thank you for the opportunity to make some remarks on the budget for loans and investments. This, I believe is the Vote that handles the various resources through making or acquiring loans from outside or inside the country and it is also the same Vote that talks about investments that the Government makes in various enterprises and so forth.


Madam Chairperson, the first comment that I would like to make is that, it is now in public domain that this country is in a serious debt crisis even though we are being advised not to talk about it. If we do not talk about it, it means that we would be the only people on earth who do not talk about our problem because the rest of the world is talking about it and this is the debt crisis. So, we have to talk about it.


Madam Chairperson, once this particular crisis is resolved, I do not think it will be good for us, as a country, to ever again get back to a crisis like this one, especially after going through it. Therefore, I want to make a special appeal to the Government. The provision in the 2016 Constitution which says that the Government shall bring a Bill to Parliament to be passed, says that every loan incurred by the Zambian Government must be approved by Parliament. For now, as Parliamentarians, people will ask us where we were when the Government was getting all these loans. They will ask us why we did not resist. The answer is that, as parliamentarians, we have no power. The Constitution ordered the Executive to bring a Bill to Parliament so that hon. Members of Parliament are empowered to say yes or no to every proposed loan that is being acquired. Therefore, the onus is on the Government to bring such a bill to this House. We, ourselves, are ready to support it so that after this crisis that is engulfing us now, we should never again, allow ourselves as a country, to be in so much debt as if we are not knowledgeable or as if we are blind. So, we await that Bill.


Madam Chairperson, the next comment I want to make is on the stalled Kalabo/Angola Border Road. This road is very important. It is a twin brother road to the Mongu/Kalabo Road. The road from Mongu to Kalabo is good but to realise the economic benefits of that corridor, it needs to go all the way into Angola. As we have said before, Angola imports literally everything like tomato, cabbage, chickens, beef, milk, cement. However, right now, we have no communication links other than the expensive air link. We have no road or surface link with Angola and as a result, we are foregoing exportation of about US$2billion to US$3billion every year to Angola which is making the Brazilians, South Africans and Portuguese richer. So, my appeal to the hon. Minister is to find money to construct that road. This is the road that is going to bring in more money.


Madam Chairperson, I thank you.


Mr Mwiimbu (Monze Central): Madam Chairperson, thank you for according me an opportunity to debate the vote pertaining to Loans and Investment under the Ministry of Finance.


Madam Chairperson, I will be failing in my duty if I do not state that I sympathise with the current hon. Minister of Finance for having inherited a bankrupt treasury.


Hon. PF Member: Question!


Mr Mwiimbu: Madam Chairperson, I am saying I sympathise, considering that as hon. Members of Opposition, on the Floor of this House, we were very consistent in advising the Government of the day to take caution when acquiring loans, especially those from the private sector. As a result of non-adherence to the advice that was given at the time to the previous Ministers of Finance, we have found ourselves in a crisis.


Madam Chairperson, when the hon. Minister of Finance presented his Budget to this House, he did indicate that approximately 40 per cent of budget finance for the 2021 Budget will be loans that will be acquired from outside the country. At that time, the Government of the Republic of Zambia had not defaulted in honouring its financial obligations to the international community. Now that the sad scenario has happened, we have defaulted.


Hon. PF Member: Question!


Mr Mwiimbu: I have no doubt in mind that the hon. Minister of Finance is going to have very serious problems in financing the 2021 Budget. Most of the international institutions that were willing to lend money to the Government of the Republic of Zambia will not be able to do so. They will not be willing. Why would you want to lend money to an institution or individual who has no capacity to meet their obligation? As a result of the default, we will struggle and have difficulties in financing the major aspects of the Budget for 2021. We are going to have very serious problems next year.


Madam Chairperson, the hon. Member for Sioma keeps making running comments.


The Chairperson: Order!


Hon. Member for Sioma, take note of that complaint and allow the hon. Leader of the Opposition to debate.


You may proceed, Hon. Mwiimbu.


Mr Ngulube: The hon. Leader of the Opposition is not being factual.


Mr Mwiimbu: Madam Chairperson, I am being told that I am not being factual. The truth of the matter is that we have defaulted. When you default or fail to meet your obligations to the international community, it will be reluctant to lend you money. That is the point I am making. I am sympathising with the hon. Minister of Finance and because of the problems he is going to encounter, we will have difficulties in financing the health sector, education sector and agricultural sector.


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


The Chairperson: Order!


I am not allowing any points of order. If anyone is indicating, let them take note. Resume your seat, Hon. Ngulube. I am speaking.


Mr Ngulube resumed his seat.


The Chairperson: No points of order. Hon. Mwiimbu, you may proceed.


Mr Mwiimbu: Madam Chairperson, thank you for protecting me.


Madam, the situation we are in is so grave. It is very serious. We did not expect ourselves to be in the situation we are in now. As hon. Members of Parliament, we have been told that when the hon. Minister of Finance borrows money, he will be able to finance the rehabilitation of the Lusaka/Mongu Road, but that will not happen. We were assured on the Floor of this House that the Katunda/Lukulu Road would be rehabilitated to bituminous standard, but nothing has been done. We were informed that the Livingstone/Sesheke Road would be rehabilitated, but nothing has been done. We were told that the Bottom Road would be completed, but now there is no money because of the situation we are in. We were assured on the Floor of the House that the Monze/Nickel Road would be rehabilitated, but nothing is going on because of the situation we are in now.


Madam Chairperson, as if that is not enough, the situation we are in is dire. As of today, the exchange rate of Kwacha to United States (US) Dollar, is K21.5 to US$1. This entails that the income of most individuals and companies has been eroded. Even the Budget we are making now is no longer meaningful. According to the projections, by the end of December, one US$1 may be equivalent to K25. If that is what is going to happen, there will be escalation of prices for goods and services in this country. Whatever intentions we are trying to make will not be met. The income of all the public workers in this country has been eroded by more than 100 per cent. When the Patriotic Front (PF) came into power, the exchange rate was about K5 to US$1, but now it is K21.5 to US$1.


Mr Ngulube: It is the whole world!


Mr Mwiimbu: Madam, prices of goods and services have escalated. I am being told that it is happening in the whole world. There is no way you can say that it is in the whole world. Why is it that the value of the Dollar is going up, if the US is affected the way we are? The truth of the matter is that we are not affected in the same way. The Rand to the Kwacha –


The Chairperson: Order!


You are now being derailed. Please, debate through the chair.


Mr Mwiimbu: Madam Chairperson, the Deputy Chief Whip is very undisciplined.


The Chairperson: Order on my right. 


You may proceed, Hon. Mwiimbu.


Mr Mwiimbu: Madam Chairperson, for those who are not aware, the Kwacha was higher than the Rand. Right now, for you to get a Rand, you have to pay K1.2. This means that the value of the Rand has gone higher than the Kwacha. So, you cannot compare the currencies, unless you are trying to ignore the economic situation obtaining.


Madam Chairperson, three months ago, we were assured that the President was going to take charge of the economy. After taking charge of the economy, according to the President, the situation has become worse. This means that the President has failed Zambians by not –




Mr Mwiimbu: Madam, we were told that once they remove the Bank of Zambia (BoZ) Governor, the Kwacha would stabilise, but the Kwacha is now melting like butter in the Kalahari. The situation is worse. There is something wrong which we are doing, and I have no doubt in my mind that the hon. Minister of Finance is advising the Government, but he found people who do not want to listen to advice. That is where the problem is. Even the lenders are now making their positions harder, considering that we do not care what the donors or the financiers are feeling. The way we are behaving and splashing money, any lender would assume that we have deliberately defaulted. I have seen that a certain political party now has more money than the Government. Hon. Members of Parliament are splashing money as if the economy is stable. Those trends are sending the wrong signal to the lenders –


The Chairperson: Order!


Hon. Leader of the Opposition, for two reasons, withdraw the statement that hon. Members of Parliament are splashing money. The first reason is that we do not debate ourselves. The second reason is that I may want to ask you to adduce evidence so that we know which hon. Member is splashing money. For those two reasons, withdraw that statement.


Mr Mwiimbu: Madam Chairperson, my time is up for withdrawal.


The Chairperson: No. I will allow you more time only for the purpose of withdrawing that statement.


Mr Mwiimbu: Madam Chairperson, I can substantiate the statement. Hon. Members of Parliament have bought buses which are not equivalent to what they are earning. That is what is happening. The hon. Members for Chililabombwe and Nkana have done that. The buses have been bought. It is in the public media, and that is the evidence.


The Chairperson: Order!


The hon. Member’s time expired.


Mr Chaatila (Moomba): Madam Chairperson, I thank you for giving me an opportunity to debate this Vote. First and foremost, I must mention that the Patriotic Front (PF) Government has been very reckless in the management of the affairs of this nation.




Mr Chaatila: Those who are saying “question” are the ones in charge of mismanaging our country.


Madam Chairperson, as regards the projects, we are all aware that the World Bank gave the Zambian Government money for the construction of roads in rural areas, almost six years ago, which is a long time. It is baffling that the PF Government has been sitting idle and has not completed the projects. However, the roads in rural areas are in a mess. When we hear about Chinese loans coming on board, the PF Government always rushes to undertake certain projects because of corruption or kickbacks from such projects. However, the World Bank funds the projects through grants but the PF takes forever to find a contractor to undertake these projects because there is no room for them to get any kickbacks. So, we are wondering what type of Government is managing the projects.


Madam Chairperson, if we manage the budget for loans and investments well, we can alleviate the problems we are facing under the rule of the PF Government. However, due to the misplacement of priorities, we have always been suffering because there is lack of proper planning by the PF Government in the implementation of projects. The Citizens Economic Empowerment Commission (CEEC) has pumped in a lot of money in projects. However, because of certain interests whereby money is given to certain groups of people, the repayment of the loans has not been good. The CEEC is failing to collect money from the individuals whom they gave.


Madam Chairperson, let me give an example of one good project the CEEC embarked on, which is the Mumbwa Cotton Ginnery. If that property was functioning well, the people of Mumbwa would have benefitted from it. However, what do we see today? The CEEC repossessed the project, and I have used the term “repossessed” because it is the one managing it now. This is because the CEEC overlooked the advice that it was given before it started that project.


Madam Chairperson, as Hon. Jack Mwiimbu said, we know that the hon. Minister of Finance is connected to the people whom he is advising, but they are failing to listen. However, going forward, I advise the hon. Minister to ensure that the projects the World Bank funded through grants are done because time is running out. The World Bank has given us money almost for free, but it is now considering withdrawing that money because the Government is failing to find contractors for the projects. So, my main point is on the projects that have been funded by the World Bank because they have given us a lot of money. The World Bank has been a good partner because it wants Zambia to be a good nation which will prosper. Unfortunately, this is being done at a time when we are being managed by a Government which is very irresponsible.


Madam Chairperson, the hon. Minister of Finance must ensure that the projects that the World Bank approved are done. I am an interested party because quite a number of roads in Moomba Constituency should have been worked on through these projects. However, the Government has just been sitting for too long. So, for how long are we going to wait for the Government to work on those roads? Our people are suffering and our vehicles break down day in and day out, yet the Government was given money to rehabilitate the roads. So, the hon. Minister of Finance must ensure that the roads are worked on.


Madam Chairperson, I do not know naanguni wakamulowa, meaning I do not know who bewitched the whole PF team. Out of the whole bunch, we would at least have had some people who mean well, but most of them are just interested in strategising on how they are going to come back in 2021. However, the Government must work on the roads in rural areas because there are also human beings there who should benefit just like the others are benefitting.


Madam Chairperson, those are the few points I wanted to make.


I thank you, Madam Chairperson.


Mr Nakacinda (Nominated): Madam Chairperson, thank you for giving me an opportunity to add my voice on the debate on Vote 21 – Loans and Investments.


Madam Chairperson, first of all, I want to encourage the hon. Minister of Finance. He is the right man in the saddle, and under the able leadership of President Edgar Chagwa Lungu, to navigate this country through the difficult times that the globe is beset with in view of the Coronavirus Disease-2019 (COVID-19) challenges. This is how come the G20 countries called for an emergency meeting to discuss the global economy and the challenges that the COVID-19 pandemic has presented. Thereafter, a resolution was immediately passed that relief be extended to individual economies for countries like Zambia to mitigate the challenges we are faced with.


Madam Chairperson, the Patriotic Front (PF) Government came up with an ambitious infrastructure programme, which is basically an investment that will benefit this country in the long term, because when one invests in infrastructure, there are dividends for a long period of time. Due to the investment from locally generated resources and finances from loans and some resources we acquired elsewhere, we needed a bit of time for us to complete the projects. It would be smooth-sailing by now, if we did not have the challenges of climate change and the COVID-19 pandemic, and we would be dealing with the obligations that we committed ourselves to. Nonetheless, we should not be shy to face the challenges that come with this situation.


Madam Chairperson, I heard some hon. Members of Parliament in the Opposition, especially in the United Party for National Development (UPND), trying to sound like they are celebrating the fact that the country found itself in the situation it is in. However, the situation we have found ourselves in is not unique to Zambia. Yesterday or the other day, it was reported that our all-weather friend South Africa had gone into a junk status. However, we are not seeing Opposition hon. Members of Parliament or leaders in that country dancing and celebrating to a point of even issuing insults on the status of their country. They are all pulling together and providing solutions to make sure that their country sails through the situation and that they continue playing their politics and offering leadership. However, what is happening in this country is unfortunate. It looks like some political parties have chosen to be reckless as a result of their desperation to try and wrestle power. They are reckless to a point of wishing economic doom and gloom for this country, hoping that this will then give them leverage to get into power.


Madam Chairperson, what is expected is for all of us to provide solutions in terms of what is going on. The hon. Minister of Finance must bite the bullet and consider Public Private Partnerships (PPPs) in certain strategic institutions where we have made heavy investment, so that possibly through that, we can access private funding that can also help us leverage with the situation we are going through. We are lucky that even with the effects of COVID-19, the price of copper seemingly keeps going up. Let us find a way of massaging the mining sector so that we can leverage something from there and have the dividends of having our currency begin to gain strength. Obviously, that will have a positive cascading effect on our repayment of debt and it will even get lower. This is because if our Kwacha gains strength, obviously, we will be able to dig deeper into our pockets to pay the liabilities that we owe.


Madam Chairperson, lastly, my advice to the Leader of the Opposition and some hon. Members of Parliament from the UPND is that we can change our attitude. Let us all focus on providing tangible solutions other than celebrating the situation that the country is in, hoping that this will give us an advantage. Otherwise, the people of Zambia are watching and are able to see the people who are patriotic and those who are just being opportunistic. At the end of the day, in 2021, they will vote for the people who are patriotic and will boot out those who are being opportunistic.


I thank you, Madam Chairperson.


Mr Fube (Chilubi): Madam Chairperson, thank you for giving the people of Chilubi a chance to debate this important budget line.


Madam Chairperson, firstly, I thank the hon. Minister of Finance for being courageous and focused in the midst of the sentiments coming from the Opposition, who are in a celebratory mood about the country’s debt and many other things, which is a sadistic approach to issues.


Madam Chairperson, the Patriotic Front (PF) Government has not left anyone behind. Since I came to Parliament, I have seen what I may describe as regional debates. When some people talk about how the country’s resources have been invested, they are happy to mention the things that have not been done, forgetting those that have been done. The PF Government has demonstrated that it is not leaving anyone behind by investing in the Kazungula Bridge, the Mongu/Kalabo Road and in many other places, even when some sadistic approaches are taken to try and isolate things that some people feel have not been done. Harry Mwanga Nkumbula Airport and many other projects are found in regions which some people are happy to isolate as places that are not being developed. We should discourage this line of debate especially that as hon. Members of Parliament, we are national leaders who should guide the nation through the manner we debate.


Madam Chairperson, I want to say that investment is well-cushioned and the PF has demonstrated a pedigree in budget performance. Past Budgets were criticised, but there has been investment and we can see certain things happening, unlike people who want to promise things that are not there. The PF has a roadmap and it has embraced the national plans like the Seventh National Development Plan (7NDP) and has tallied it with the budget lines. In Bemba we say, kulinga amenshi no bunga, meaning that we measure our resources with what we have at hand.


Madam Chairperson, the PF has no history of economic mismanagement, unlike some leaders in the Opposition who have been associated with economic mismanagement. We are on solid ground. We will demonstrate to the Zambians that we have courage in these hard times and we will rise like a noble eagle in its flight.


Madam Chairperson, the Opposition is contributing to the fluctuation of the exchange rate because of their negative sentiments. They always say bad things about Zambia when they are given platforms outside the country and on social media. The economy has a physiological aspect and, us, as leaders, need to demonstrate that we can manage the country together. You will not win elections based on economic malaise. Zambians are watching and they understand the factors surrounding our economic performance.


Madam Chairperson, the PF Government has opened the country and it has built infrastructure. Let me give reference to what happened in Rwanda, which is a country near us. Paul Kagame’s team ventured into infrastructure developments such as roads, airports and many others and, today, Rwanda’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is performing well. The Opposition is excited because it knows that the PF has performed well and that when it gets into power, it will not have to do anything serious because we have done all we could. The Opposition knows that we have sacrificed our sweat, even under difficult circumstances. Among other things, we courageously removed subsidies on fuel and other things because we want the economy to reflect the realities on the ground. We do not want to massage people’s egos or promise money when there is no money. We want the people to face the situation as it is. That is leadership. Let us exercise leadership beyond partisan lines.


Madam Chairperson, the United Party of National Development (UPND) is very unpatriotic and it needs to improve on this because the country belongs to all of us. It is time that we –


The Chairperson: Order!


The hon. Member’s time expired.


Mr Ng’ambi (Chifubu): Madam Chairperson, thank you for giving the people of Chifubu an opportunity to debate this important Vote.


Madam Chairperson, I want to take this opportunity to congratulate the Ministry of Finance and His Excellency the President, Mr Edgar Chagwa Lungu, for the strategic manner that they have handled the effects of the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19). If the Patriotic Front (PF) Government did not put in place the inventions that it did, Zambia could have been worse than where it is. It is evident that certain countries in the region such as Tanzania, did not call for a lockdown but our President effected a semi-lock down in order to alleviate the suffering of our people. However, due to the strategic and firm manner that His Excellency the President dealt with the COVID-19 pandemic, the Opposition cried foul because it wanted the suffering of the people to escalate. So, the PF Government means well in mitigating the suffering of our people.


Madam Chairperson, as you may be aware, the PF Government has continued funding the Citizens Economic Empowerment Commission (CEEC) to ensure that entrepreneurs in this country continue being supported. I am happy that the interventions that the Government has put in place through the CEEC have brought about a lot of entrepreneurial activities across the country. I commend the hon. Minister of Finance for continuing to support the CEEC because of the noble fact that many people in Chifubu and all over the country have seen some of the benefits of this important institution. However, even if this country is at its worst in terms of borrowing, it is important that the CEEC is allocated more money. The model that the CEEC uses seems to favour Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises. However, at the level we are at, Zambia needs to move a step ahead by ensuring that the CEEC starts funding huge projects.


Madam Chairperson, the amount that has been allocated to the CEEC is inadequate. We need to take a leaf from South Africa and look at the model of black empowerment that it has employed, where South Africans are given huge amounts of money to undertake huge projects even across their borders. I am of the view that given an opportunity that Zambia borrows again, it must invest into the CEEC in order for entrepreneurial activities to take effect as this would also be used as leverage to repay our loans. At the moment, entrepreneurial activities across the country and capital markets are still very low. If US$1 billion was sourced on favourable terms and given to institutions like the CEEC and other commercial banks to try and spur economic activities in the country, it can alleviate poverty and contribute positively towards the repayment programme of this country. So, I urge the hon. Minister to seriously consider changing the current model so that when students graduate from our universities, they can be given big projects to undertake. Amounts ranging from K50,000 to K100,000 are not adequate to positively contribute towards the growth of the economy.


Madam Chairperson, it has been extremely prohibitive for companies or entrepreneurs to borrow from commercial banks because of the high interest rates. Therefore, I want to urge the Government to come up with a deliberate policy of borrowing money from outside and investing it into private enterprises. This should be one of the models that the Government should consider using to see how it can help to increase the economic actives in this country. I want to commend His Excellency the President, Mr Lungu and the hon. Minister of Finance for a job well done.


I thank you, Madam.


Mrs Mwape was inaudible.


Mr Ngulube (Kabwe Central): Madam Chairperson, thank you for this kind opportunity to allow me to add my voice to this Vote for Loans and Investments.


Madam Chairperson, it is worrying and shocking when people come to the Floor of this House and forget that the people of Zambia are able to see what the Patriotic Front (PF) Government has done in terms of infrastructure in this country.


Madam Chairperson, the PF Government has invested quite heavily in the Southern Province. It has constructed the Monze/Niko Road, the new Dundumwezi Road and the other new infrastructure developments. So, it is very difficult to understand how someone can come and point fingers at the Government. If you look at the township roads that the Government has constructed in Monze, Mazabuka and everywhere else, you will see that that has been done from the same loans and investments.


Madam Chairperson, it is also disheartening for people to point fingers when we all know that these are just crocodile tears meant to show people that there is a compliant when in actual fact there is not. That is why when we talk about the huge infrastructure investment, we are not just talking from without. The people of Zambia have seen it and they appreciate. For instance, in Lusaka, it now takes very few minutes to get in and out of town. Whichever direction we can talk about, the roads and infrastructure development that the PF has put up in Lusaka are not just benefiting the PF members. I am aware that some people who came on the Floor of this House to complain about the huge infrastructure that the PF has provided have actually benefited from it. Some people have got tarred roads passing in front of their houses but when they come to Parliament, they want to paint the PF Government bad.


Madam Chairperson, I want to talk about the issues of the Dollar and the currency exchange. When you say global, you are referring to the whole world. I am actually trying to imagine whether there is a country which has had a uniform exchange rate with the United States of America (USA) for the last twenty years and is still at the uniform rate. Whether we talk about currencies for Tanzania, Egypt and even the British Pound, you will realise that everyone is affected, including the Chinese themselves. We all know that the exchange rate is never static. It is like the price of mealie meal which keeps going up. So, people must be factual when they come to the Floor of this House.


Madam Chairperson, I am also aware that the PF Government has invested in almost all the sectors, and not just the roads. The Government has invested in universities and colleges. Kabwe Constituency has had a face lift. It used to be a ghost town, but now, it looks much better. Universities have been upgraded, the town has received huge infrastructure development and the roads have been tarred. People in Katondo were crying for roads, and the PF Government is now giving them new tarmac roads. Therefore, I want to thank the hon. Minister of Finance and congratulate His Excellency the President for that. Even when people are crying about whether or not Zambia has defaulted on its debt and think the world has come to an end, the Zambian Kwacha is not the only currency that is facing the turbulence that we have seen.


Madam Chairperson, I am aware that even the economic managers who insult people during public rallies have failed to come up with solutions and suggestions. People who have a history of mismanaging this economy through privatisation were filling up their pockets and this resulted into many retirees dying. So, today, they cannot come here and pretend that the PF Government is worse than the previous Government. I want to tell them that there will be no Government like this PF Government. This Government can only be compared to the United Nations Independent Party (UNIP) Government which ruled for twenty-seven years. Some of the infrastructure that the Government has put up cannot be compared to the twenty–seven years. The PF Government has done more within a short period of the ten years.


Madam Chairperson, when I was in Monze Central, I was shocked to see huge projects there, which included roads, schools, among other things. Why has the hon. Member of Parliament for Monze Central not come here to congratulate the Government? Let us be factual when we come to debate.


Madam Chairperson, in conclusion, I like the idea of getting young hon. Members of Parliament to come to Parliament so that they bring fresh blood because you cannot have one hon. Member of Parliament for forty years –


The Chairperson: Order!


Hon Member, you cannot go there. The people will decide whom they bring to the House. Proceed with your debate.


Mr Ngulube: Madam Chairperson, I withdraw. That is, probably, the reason some people shot down the Constitution of Zambia (Amendment) Bill No. 10 of 2019. It is because they were scared that we would have young hon. Members of Parliament coming to debate in this House.


I thank you, Madam.


Dr Ng’andu:  Madam Chairperson, I thank you very much for the opportunity to respond to some of the comments that have been made by the various hon. Members of Parliament. I would like, in this respect, to thank Dr Musokotwane, Mr Jack Mwiimbu, Mr Chaatila, Mr Nakacinda, Mr Fube, Mr Ng’ambi and Mr Ngulube, for their comments.


Madam Chairperson, from their comments, it is quite clear that they have no objections to the proposals contained in the Vote. So, I can assume that they support the submissions that we have made.


Madam Chairperson, I would like to comment on a few comments that were raised by some of the hon. Members who spoke. On the issue of the debt crisis, I want to say that this House is aware that Cabinet, under the direct leadership of His Excellency the President, directed that we begin the process of restructuring our loan, and the measures that have been introduced included, firstly, suspending the contraction of any additional loans, cancelling some loans for which there has been no disbursements and also working on re-scoping some of the loans that the Government had obtained.


Madam Chairperson, the process of cancelling some loans in the pipeline means that a number of projects that were earmarked for implementation had to be sacrificed in the course of trying to begin the process of bringing our debt situation to a sustained level. However, the re-scoping of some of these projects has also had an impact on what can and cannot be done, going forward.


Madam Chairperson, I need to mention, as I have already spoken to this Housethat the whole world does recognise the challenges that most countries in our position face. Which is why the G20 (or Group of Twenty) countries or the Paris Club Members introduced the debt suspension initiative so that countries can be given that opportunity? You will all recall that up until the pandemic hit the world, Zambia was able to service its loan obligations. However, because of the shared impact of the pandemic, the country experienced serious difficulties arising from contractions in revenue caused by reductions in foreign exchange earnings which incidentally has had an impact on the exchange rate that had been spoken about in this House.


Madam Chairperson, the Government will continue to implement measures which include the negotiation for debt service standstill. One of the benefits that will come from achieving debt service standstills from a number of our creditors is that it will free up resources for the Government, as we go into next year, to be able to implement the project but also to be able to support expenditure that needs to be met in the course of next year.


Madam Chairperson, we will work towards fulfilling what we have undertaken to implement, and this includes working on various roads. However, the challenge of resources is well known to this House. Our work now is to, as much as we can, to contain the situation and manage the debt situation that we are in. I hope that after that, we should be in a better position to be able to implement the programmes that have been undertaken.


Madam Chairperson, remember that this Government has done a lot in terms of upgrading the infrastructure of this country. I know that people tend to ignore what has been done and focus on what has not been done. However, the sense of balance requires you to acknowledge what has been done in as much as you also request and demand for what has not been done. If you exercise that sense of balance, you would appreciate that this Government has done the best it can, under the circumstances.


I thank you, Madam.


VOTE 21(Loans and InvestmentsRoad Infrastructure – K 6,214,145,268)


Mr Lufuma: Madam Chairperson, thank you very much for the opportunity, though I was not able to debate. However, I would like to raise an issue on this Vote concerning the project that the hon. Minister mentioned that it is being funded by the Word Bank. That is the connectivity of districts with the rehabilitation of up to 4,314 km of feeder roads, in six provinces. I would like to find out whether there is counterpart funding or an equivalent to open up rural areas by working on the feeder roads because I cannot see that in this budget.


Dr Ng’andu: Madam Chairperson. I did indicate when I presented the Budget to this House, that a number of projects will be undertaken through disbursements. What was shown as external financing did not represent direct borrowing but represented disbursements from loans, which we have already contracted. Now, even with the situation that we are in, we have agreed with various creditors and a number of key projects will be maintained and continue to be implemented.


Madam Chairperson, in keeping with that spirit, we will continue to implement some of these projects. With respect to the World Bank loans, we are engaged in discussions with them on the various projects that they would like to support and begin the process of disbursing some of these projects where disbursement has somewhat slowed down. The World Bank has its own system of working and sometimes it does not work at the pace that we probably want it to do, but that is how its system operates. However, you will be able to see some changes taking place as soon as they begin to disburse some of the projects, which have already been approved, and we are ready to implement.


I thank you, Madam.


Madam Chairperson: Mr Lufuma, are you satisfied? You asked about counterpart funding.


Dr Ng’andu: Madam Chairperson, a number of these projects do not require counterpart funding. One has to look at a specific project that you are referring to. So, it is difficult to answer in a global way whether there is counterpart funding required because some projects do not require counterpart funding. A number of projects we are talking about here do not require that.


I thank you, Madam.


Vote 21 ordered to stand part of the Estimates.


VOTE 37 – (Ministry of Finance – K4,104,151,348)


The Minister of Finance (Dr Ng'andu): Madam Chairperson, I am grateful again for this opportunity to present my policy statement on the 2021 Estimates of Expenditure for the Ministry of Finance as it relates to Vote 37.


Madam Chairperson, the broad mandate of the ministry is to oversee public financial and economic management of the nation in order to foster economic development. This mandate is translated into a number of statutory functions that the ministry performs and this includes:


  1. operationalising the Loans and Guarantees (Authorisation) Act;
  2. enhancing resource mobilisation mechanisms;
  3. strengthening adherence to tax and non-tax legislation;
  4. implementing debt management strategies and improving internal processes and procedures; and
  5. risk management systems in the Public Service, agencies and statutory corporation that utilise public resources.


Madam Chairperson, before I outline the key objectives and mention the programmes which will be implemented in 2021, I would like to briefly comment on the performance of the ministry during the current fiscal year.


Performance of the Ministry in 2020


Madam Chairperson, the performance of the ministry in 2020 has been hugely impacted by the Coronavirus Disease-2019 (COVID-19) pandemic which triggered contraction of economic activity across all sectors of the economy and consequently, led to substantial reductions in both tax and non-tax revenues. Our projection suggests that revenue collections by the close of 2020 will be K65.9 billion against the target of K75 billion. This represents a 12 per cent under performance in tax collection.


Madam Chairperson, while the revenue base has contracted, the Government during the same period introduced a number of tax relief measures aimed at assisting businesses that were hard-hit by the effect of the pandemic to forestall their possible collapse while assisting them to transition through a rather difficult period. The same measures were also aimed at expediting the provision of medical related devices needed to support the fight against the pandemic.


Madam Chairperson, the situation for the resources was further exacerbated by increased requirements on the expenditure side as the Treasury needed to allocate K57 million to the Epidemic Preparedness Fund and K659 million to the COVID-19 Contingency and Response Plan under the Disaster Management and Mitigation Unity (DMMU).


Madam Chairperson, ensuing realignment of expenditure necessitated the issuance of the COVID-19 Bond and the K10 Billion Bank of Zambia (BOZ) Medium Term Refinancing Facility to raise additional resources and to inject liquidity into the economy.


COVID-19 Bond


Madam Chairperson, the resources mobilised from the COVID-19 Bond were allocated as follows:


  1. K520 million was released to dismantle arrears;
  2. K700 million applied towards the Value Added Tax (VAT) refunds;
  3. K585 million was released to the Public Service Pension Fund (PSPF) to pay retirees;
  4. K815 million was paid to micro finance institution to reduce the Government’s indebtedness to them;
  5. K250 million was released as contingency development funds;
  6. K750 million was used to pay for drugs and related equipment;
  7. K500 million was released to support youth empowerment programmes;
  8. K1 billion was released to support grain purchases by the Food Reserve Agency (FRA); and
  9. K900 million was released to the National Savings and Credit Bank (NATSAV) to facilitate on-lending to Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs).


Madam Chairperson, to enhance revenue collection, the ministry in collaboration with Smart Zambia Institute has deployed the Government Service Bus and Payment Gateway. To date, results from the use of this electronic platform point has increased prospects of higher non-tax revenue collection. During the period under review, the ministry also rolled-out the Output Based Budget (OBB) to all ministries, making it possible to prepare the 2021 Budget exclusively in the OBB.


Madam Chairperson, in order to contribute to further improvement in the transparency and accountability in public finances, the ministry in 2020 processed key pieces of legislation which include the Public Procurement Bill, the Banking and Financial Services (Amendment) Bill and the Financial Intelligence Centre (Amendment) Bill, and all these are in their final phases of completion in this House.


Vote 37-Budget


Madam Chairperson, I would like to present the defining features of the 2021 Budget under this Vote. The total budgetary allocation to the ministry for the coming fiscal year, 2021, is K 4.1 billion intended to support six priority programmes. These are:


  1. Economic Management Programme whose core objective is to sustain a stable macroeconomic environment which is a necessary condition for economic development. This programme has been allocated K52.9 million of which K42.3 million is budgeted for transfers and grants to support a number of grant-aided institutions such as the National Authorising Office, the Securities and Exchange Commission, the Pensions and Insurance Authority and the Capital Market Tribunal, among others;
  2. Fiscal Management Programme has been allocated K966.9 million to be applied to enhancing domestic resource mobilisation and strengthening internal controls. Substantial portion of the resource under this programme to the extent of K918.7 million will go towards improving revenue collection capability of the Zambia Revenue Authority (ZRA) and the balance will go towards funding the work of the National Roads Fund Agency (NRFA) and the Tax Appeals Tribunal;
  3. Public Finance Management Programme has been allocated K1.8 billion to be applied to the strengthening of public finance management in the Government. The range of sub-programmes falling under it includes financial information and reporting, Local Government (Financial Management) payroll;
  4. Internal Audit and Risk Management Programme has been allocated K62.3 million for the purpose of improving internal audit and risk management process and procedures as well as conducting statutory internal audits. The allocation will also support the operations of the Financial Intelligence Centre (FIC) to which K31.5 million has been allocated;
  5. Procurement and Stores Management Programme whose core mandate is efficient management of the public procurement and stores management function has been allocated K59.7 million of which K55.9 million will be transferred to the Zambia Public Procurement Authority (ZPPA); and
  6. Management and Support Service Programme has been allocated K1.1 billion of which K47.5 million will go towards personal emoluments.


Madam Chairperson, the policy thrust of the ministry in 2021, will be the implementation of economic recovery programme as approved by Cabinet in order to make gains in terms of restoring macroeconomic stability, attaining fiscal debt sustainability, restoring positive growth and dismantling domestic arrears. The ministry will further pursue effective implementation of public finance management processes in order to optimise the utilisation of public resources while at the same time maximising domestic resource mobilisation by increasing the use of electronic platforms in the collection of both tax and non-tax revenues.


Madam Chairperson, we believe that these measures will create a strong foundation which will buttress sustainable national development. I, therefore, implore hon. Members of this House to support submissions presented under Vote 37.


Madam Chairperson, I thank you.


Dr Musokotwane (Liuwa): Madam Chairperson, I thank you for giving me this opportunity to debate. I also want to thank the hon. Minister for the policy statement. The Ministry of Finance is obviously one of the pillars for economic policy-making in the country. One of those economic policies has to do with economic stimulus packages. Therefore, my comments this afternoon will be on the issue of economic stimulus package.


Madam Chairperson, what does economic stimulus package mean? Typically, this concept was originally designed, based on a situation where there is uncertainty in the economy caused by one factor or another and because of that uncertainty, the people from the private sector, and that is, the consumers and investors, decide to hold back their resources without spending. As we know, if we do not spend, no income will be generated and the economy will get worse. So, the stimulus package was there to try and evade the private sector. It was held back by the Government itself so that it spends the money. The Government borrows money from the same private sector and spend it so that the engine of economic growth in the country does not stop.


Madam Chairperson, we know that the economic stabilisation packages, of course, have been implemented by different governments of different types over many years. Certainly, in the case of Zambia, there was an economic stimulus package in the 2008/2009 economic crisis.  After that, what is our experience with economic stimulus packages?


Madam Chairperson, in actual fact, ever since the Patriotic Front (PF) Government took over power, it has been running an economic stimulus package. I say so because year after year, for the last nine years, it has never lived within its means. It has always been spending and most of this spending is, of course, from external loans.


Madam Chairperson, did this continuous stimulus package for the last nine years help? Initially, yes, it did. We saw economic growth initially, but afterwards, this package became a problem. It was okay when money was flowing. Roads and hospitals were constructed and incomes were being generated. However, the very opposite is now happening. Money is flowing out of the country to pay off debts. This is what is partly causing this economic slump that we are seeing in the economy. The economic package of nine years has now come to haunt us. Economic growth has slowed down and become negative.


Madam Chairperson, the hon. Minister announced the package and has borrowed more money domestically in the last year because he says that he wants to stimulate the economy and yet we know that in the last nine years, this stimulus package has actually done more damage than help. So, now, we want to understand how this latest economic stimulus package is going to change the fortunes of Zambia. What is the difference? If it has failed in nine years, how do we now have hope? We should remember that the stimulus package of 2008/2009 was financed by foreign exchange from the International Monetary Fund (IMF). However, this one was not. It is financed by money generated artificially in the country, thereby, threatening to create very high rates of inflation in the country. So, I want to know how this stimulus package is going to change the fortunes of Zambia. If it is limited in the manner that I have explained, I want the hon. Minister to explain what else he is going to do to bring the economy of the country back on track.


Madam Chairperson, I thank you.


Mr Fube (Chilubi): Madam Chairperson, I would like to appreciate the presentation by the hon. Minister of Finance, especially the highlight on investments that will alleviate poverty in one way or another.


Madam Chairperson, I think that there is this picture that has been drawn by a lot of stakeholders, especially some Opposition elements who feel that the Patriotic Front (PF) is not budgeting within its means. What was the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) when we were fighting for the Heavily Indented Poor Countries (HIPC) initiative in 2001?  That is not the GDP we have now. The population has grown and so has investment even from individuals. For example, the housing sector in Zambia has grown, be it in peri-urban, urban or rural areas. This time around, you can find what they call Nigerian type of housing in rural areas because there is a favourable environment for economic growth. Sometimes, I wonder whether the economic analysis that we get on papers is reflective of the reality on the ground. For instance, no one should argue that we have managed to get rid of absolute poverty in Zambia. To a large extent, what we have in Zambia is capability poverty.


Madam Chairperson, much as learned although people may say that the Patriotic Front (PF) is not living within its means, there is growth. Growth cannot be tabulated only by exchange rates and loans borrowed and invested.


Madam Chairperson, people say that the PF is not living within its means, but it is the same Budget that comes through the hon. Minister of Finance that finances the agriculture sector. If you saw the domestic resource that farmers had at the time of harvest, you would be pleased. The price of maize was competitive this time around. Many people who monitored the situation said that private sector players had a tough time because they could not compete with the price that the Government had fixed. Those are measures that are meant to alleviate poverty in the country.


Madam Chairperson, economic management is a very big concept that should not just be narrowed down to exchange rates because it is about the gap or the Gini co-efficient.


Madam Chairperson, if we are talking about reducing the gap between the haves and have-nots, the PF is trying to solve the puzzle of urban poverty. It has tried to attend to rural poverty. Urban poverty is due to the system of cash budget. Many people depend on salaries. Due to many other factors, sometimes they may have difficulties in thinking outside the box. That is why we said that we have capability poverty.


Madam Chairperson, singing songs that the PF is really a failed project because of economic mismanagement and that it is not living within its means will not help this country. What will help this country is to know how we harness the current resources. I think that the PF has been innovative enough, especially with the electronic means that the hon. Minister of Finance referred to earlier where he talked about collection of revenue. We have seen how toll gates and other electronic platforms are performing. We need to give kudos and credit where it is due, unlike painting a picture like it is all dark. I do not think it is as dark as we paint it. I believe that with time, the PF will demonstrate that it meant well, as it always has. 


Madam Chairperson, with these words, I support the Vote which has been proposed by the hon. Minister of Finance.


I thank you, Sir.


Mr A. C. Mumba (Kantanshi): Madam Chairperson, thank you very much. I thank the hon. Minister for his policy statement. I think that we are all in agreement that our economy needs to be stimulated in order for it to provide the opportunities that our people are looking for. Considering the situation we are in, my interest is how the hon. Minister intends to enlarge his domestic resource mobilisation. Yes, he has put in provisions for Zambian small businesses. We all know that Small Medium Entrepreneurs (SMEs) are the lubricants of a growing economy. He has put in close to K3 billion. However, we have seen in the past that there has not been consistency in payments for those that provide goods and services. What we have seen is more consistency towards road contracts. Year in and year out, of the time that I have been in Parliament, I hear that Zambian contractors are to be paid, but the hon. Minister will agree with me that those Zambian companies are still not paid to date.


Madam Chairperson, two weeks ago, the Ministry of Finance released K500 million which had no effect on Zambian companies and small businesses which are trying to grow and pay those taxes which the hon. Minister is looking for. Some of these companies are trying to go back on site.


Madam Chairperson, the other day, Her Honour the Vice-President was referring to the Kafue Hook Bridge where K10 million was released against the debt of K147 million. It is well known that K10 million will just go to stand alone, time and interest. This means that there will be no movement in construction, going forward, on that particular bridge.


 Madam Chairperson, I would like the hon. Minister to explain some of the nitty gritty that he is going to carry out, especially in some of these road contracts. This should start from the investment that the Government puts in from the consultants. Is it really necessary that we should spend that kind of money on buying them vehicles? When a project does not finish in a period that it is expected, those assets are supposed to move back to the Government. However, that is not happening. This means that the Government is also losing out on vehicles.


 Madam Chairperson, I also want to hear how the Minister is going to turn around some of the non-performing companies that are supposed to contribute to job creation in the midst of our economy being in the state it is. This is because those companies are the immediate ones that can create the jobs that we are looking for. Those are the ones that can do an uptake of all those young men and women who are coming out of colleges for the apprentice programme that he referred to.


Madam Chairperson, I also want to find out how the hon. Minister is going to treat the issue of retirees which has been an issue of debate even in this House. We all know that when retirees get their money, that is their last money in their lives. Most of them want to start doing business at the age of fifty-five or sixty-five years, something that they have never done in their whole lives and they get it wrong, most of the time. How do we create an opportunity for them to, maybe, participate in the bond market or treasury bills so that the ministry withholds that money and then they survive on interest? That is more efficient for the ministry because it will have money at every given point in time to pay for other goods and services.


Madam Chairperson, the Presidential Speech talked about innovation. How innovative are other ministries going to be so that they are able to do more with less?


Madam Speaker, I would like to hear from the hon. Minister.


With those few thoughts, I thank you.


I thank you, Madam Chairperson.


Mr Kamboni (Kalomo Central): Madam Chairperson, thank you very much. The Ministry of Finance has not done very well, really, in the past years such that we are now in a crisis. Of course, the current minister is new. However, we are talking about the Ministry of Finance. It could have done well to put the country in a better position than where we are now.


Madam Chairperson, it is also not correct to say that the Patriotic Front (PF) is spending within its means. It has not been spending within its means because we have had budget deficits throughout. That means that expenditure is more than revenue. Even now, we have a budget deficit. So, clearly when we talk, we need to raise facts so that the whole country can move on a good note.


Madam Chairperson, one of the areas the Ministry of Finance has not really done very well is expenditure control. Expenditure has been very high and priority has been wrong at all costs. We have put in money where it is not supposed to be. The tax burden on people has been too much. You cannot milk a cow that you are not feeding.


Madam Chairperson, if you look at the whole Budget, you notice that we are going to get more money by taxing citizens. The tax of 37.9 per cent on citizens is too much. When one has a K100 he/she is almost losing K40 to the Government and yet the mines, which utilise our natural resources, go scot-free by only paying about K5billion.


Madam Chairperson, as far as am concerned, the Ministry of Finance is not properly organised. It has no system and this is why corruption is free for all. If the watchman has access, he can still get a chunk from the Ministry of Finance because there are no systems to stop corruption. The resource envelope in the Ministry of Finance is very porous because they have failed to come up with a system that would really control the stealing of money easily.


Madam Chairperson, I will give an example. In governments where there are systems, they do not use cash. When you go to Botswana, they do not use cash in the government because cash is easily exchanged in the hands and one will have no proof as to who has taken it. However, the Zambian Government has continued to use cash. Maybe it is because it is not trusted by people who use cash as a means of exchange. Other countries use the Government Purchasing Order to conduct government transactions. Whoever is involved in that transaction will leave a signature, and that way, it will be easier to follow and catch the culprits.


Madam Chairperson the other area where the Ministry of Finance has not worked very well is on the lack of systems. I am saying this because the Votes are easily changed and money is shifted from one Vote to another. That is where the problem is. Under tight systems, money cannot be shifted. If the money is meant for buying a particular item, it is left there and if that particular item is not bought, the money goes back to the ministry. However, under this finance mechanism, money which is meant for something else can easily be exchanged. The money is being governed in a very bad state. Since we have an hon. Minister of Finance with such a good experience, we expect him to change the system where money will not be easily exchanged, and the Votes will be respected.


Madam Chairperson, the issue of tax must be looked into. People cannot pay any more. You cannot improve an economy through tax only. You need to put money in circulation. If people have no money to spend, who are you going to tax? You will tax them and they will not be able to pay. So, we need the Ministry of Finance to come up with brilliant ideas. This is why the Ministry of Finance should have been married with the Ministry of National Development and Planning but the Ministry of National Development and Planning is still a ministry of dead wood. There is nothing coming from the Ministry of National Development and Planning to help the Ministry of Finance. So, the Ministry of Finance is over-burdened.


Madam Chairperson, on over borrowing, the Ministry of Finance should have advised. It is very important for the Minister of Finance to have the right to say no to certain political decisions. However, if he is being intimidated, then we will end up where we are. Zambia is now a case study. We are the first country in Africa to default on loan repayments and we are not doing very well. We have done very badly to a level where the country is now embarrassed. We are now in a junk status because the Ministry of Finance is just used by politicians. Priorities are misplaced and we are suffering because of the decisions coming from this ministry. It is not fair. My people in Kalomo have not benefited anything from these loans and yet they are made to pay. It is not fair.


Thank you very much, Madam Chairperson.


The Chairperson: Mrs Chinyama.


Mrs Chinyama (was inaudible).


The Chairperson: The Hon. Minister of Finance, wind up debate.


Dr Ng’andu: Madam Chairperson, I would once again −


Mrs Chinyama: Madam Speaker!


The Chairperson: We have passed. Hon. Minister, proceed.


Mrs Chinyama: Yaa!


Dr Ng’andu: Madam Chairperson, once again, I would like to thank the hon. Members who have spoken on this Vote. I would like to just respond to some of the key things that have been raised in their submissions, one of which relates to the stimulus package that we have attempted to implement as we deal with the challenge that has been presented to us by the COVID-19 pandemic.


Madam Chairperson, during this period, what we tried to do was to change what, for a number of years, has been our emphasis on servicing external debt. When servicing external loans in the way that we have been doing, we have in a sense been doing it at the expense of the domestic suppliers of goods and services. For that reason, we have built arrears with our local suppliers. Now, the building up of arrears obviously dried up the liquidity that we expect to have in the economy. So, by changing the focus and beginning to stress on reducing these arrears, we have in a sense, now infused additional liquidity in the economy which should stimulate consumption and domestic spending. The process is not complete. We will continue to do the same thing.


Madam, what is very important about this approach we have taken is that we did not issue high powered money which will drive the inflation upwards. We went to borrow from the players in the market who had the money. So, when you talk about inflation, probably the worst thing that you can say we did was to, perhaps compete in the market with domestic borrowers of resources. However, the money was eventually spent on small-scale entrepreneurs who had provided goods and services to the Government.


Madam, let me refer to Hon. Mumba’s issue on payment to small-scale businesses. I did mention in my presentation that we spent quite a substantial amount of that money to pay small-scale entrepreneurs as well as to pensioners. There is already campaign going on, where we are encouraging various pensioners to invest in bonds and treasury bills as a way of building their wealth.


Madam Chairperson, by and large, I think there has been no objection to my submission.


I thank you. 


The Chairperson: Order!


(Debate adjourned)




[MR SPEAKER in the Chair]

(Progress reported)


The House adjourned at 1657 hours until 1430 hours on Wednesday, 25th November, 2020.