22 June 2012

Zambia: U.S.$76 Million Needed to Boost Mulobezi Operations

PARLIAMENT heard yesterday that Mulobezi Railway line requires about US$76 million (over K400 billion)to enable it become viable.

Transport, Works, Supply and Communications Deputy Minister, Andrew Mwali said Government was aware of pressing challenges that had hampered the operations of Mulobezi Railway line.

Dr Mwali said Government was owner of Mulobezi Railway line and that it was aware that the railway line was dangerous to the travelling public.

He was responding to Mulobezi MP, Hastings Sililo (UPND) who wanted to know who owned Mulobezi Railway line.

Mr Sililo also wanted to know when the firm would be rehabilitated.

In response, Dr Mwali said the railway line was currently being supervised by the Railway Systems of Zambia (RSZ).

"Government is concerned about this railway line and we are currently looking at ways of strengthening it ," he said.

Transport, Works, Supply and Communication Minister, Yamfwa Mukanga told the House that Government was also considering private sector partnership to help revamp Mulobezi Railway line.

And Commerce, Trade and Industry Deputy Minister, Keith Mukata told Parliament that Shoprite Checkers operated 21 stores in the country.

Mr Mukata who was responding to a question by PF Bahati MP, Harry Kalaba, said Lusaka had five stores and Livingstone had two while the rest were distributed across the country, except for Muchinga Province.

Mr Mukata further revealed that 16 Zambians held management positions in various capacities such credit managers.

Meanwhile, Government is considering extending trading hours at Nakonde border in order to effectively serve members of the public.

Finance Deputy Minister, Miles Sampa said the current trade duration was from 06:00 hours to 18:00 hours. He, however, said that issues such as reaching an agreement with neighbouring countries, expanding infrastructure and improving security needed to be looked at.

Mr Sampa was responding to Nakonde MP, Abel Sichula (PF) who wanted to know whether the ministry had any plans to extend service hours at Nakonde border.

Meanwhile, Speaker of the National Assembly, Patrick Matibini has warned MPs against reporting late to the House.

Dr Matibini who sounded the warning yesterday said it was not in order for any parliamentarian to disregard rules of the House by reporting late after tea breaks.

The Speaker was responding to a point of order raised by MMD Mkushi MP, Sydney Chisanga on some parliamentarians who reported late yesterday to the House.

In his ruling, Dr Matibini said it was unacceptable and that he would not condone the tendency because all the members were supposed to abide by regulations.

"This is totally unacceptable and nobody is supposed to report late.

Members of the House should at all times observe time and the rules of the House. I shall not tolerate this tendency," he said.

He said it was not in order that he would have to wait for the members in the House when they were supposed to be punctual.

Dr Matibini has since urged the leader of Government business in the House Vice-President, Guy Scott; Chief Whips from both ruling and opposition parties, to always remind members to be punctual.

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