PF MPs approve re-created ministries, mere changes in names of other ministries as opposition walk out

PARLIAMENT on Thursday evening approved a motion seeking to abolish and establish the new Government ministries and departments recently re-recreated by President Michael Sata.

Meanwhile, opposition Members of Parliament (MPs) walked out of the House in protest against the motion.

The motion which was moved by Vice-President Guy Scott sought to abolish the Ministry of Finance and National Planning, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Tourism and the Ministry of Information, Broadcasting and Labour.

It further sought Parliament’s approval of the creation of the Ministry of Finance, the delinking of the Tourism and Arts from the Foreign Affairs Ministry and Ministry of Labour and Social Services as a stand-alone from the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting.

Speaker of the National Assembly Patrick Matibini put the motion to a vote after which a division was declared prompting the opposition MPs to walk out.

Those who walked out included Mpongwe MP, Gabriel Namulambe (MMD) and his Kasenengwa counterpart, Victoria Kalima (MMD) who had both supported the motion.

Only Chipangali MP Vincent Mwale (MMD), remained in the House because he had to present the next motion on the floor which was the report of the Public Accounts Committee on the report of the Auditor General for the financial year ended December 31, 2010.

Mwembeshi MP, Austin Milambo who was to second the PAC motion also stayed behind together with another member of the committee, Luena MP, Batuke Imenda (UPND).

In the absence of the opposition MPs who only started trickling back in after the 18:15 hours’ tea break, the Speaker declared that the motion had been approved in the affirmative.

Contributing to the motion earlier, Mr Namulambe said the PF Government should not be ashamed to establish more ministries as a way of enhancing efficiency much the same way it had been establishing more districts.

He said loading ministries with so many portfolios was not helpful and gave an example of the combination of critical sectors of Energy and Mines in one ministry as well as that of Communications, Transport and Works and Supply.

Finance Deputy Minister, Miles Sampa echoed the sentiments of the Vice-President that the proposed changes to the ministries was just in the name but that all the three ministries still retained their same functions.

The Kasenengwa MP said she supported the motion because it was progressive and also vindicated her party that the number of ministries MMD had when it was in office was meant to provide for the people thus the reason for the PF to emulate it.

Mbabala MP, Ephraim Belemu (UPND) said abolishing and establishing new ministries and departments every so often was causing Parliament to dwell on the same matters all the time at the expense of developmental issues.

Monze Central MP, Jack Mwiimbu (UPND) said he would personally not support the motion because he had previously asked the PF Government to look at the structure before seeking Parliamentary ratification instead of doing it in piecemeal.

Youth and Sport minister, Chishimba Kambwili said from the debates on the motion, it was clear that even the opposition side was in support of proposed changes by the Executive which he said was being undertaken by listening to the cries of the people.

The House later adopted the PAC report which highlighted misappropriation of funds through excess expenditure which grew from K249.9 billion in 2008 to K814.2 billion in 2010 while unretired imprest in most Government ministries also grew from K21.4 billion in 2008 to K77.1 billion during the same period.

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