Zambia: Parley Approves K2 Trillion Defence Ministry Budget

PARLIAMENT has approved the K2 trillion budgetary allocation to the Ministry of Defence whose wing will soon be modernised.

Defence Minister Geoffrey Mwamba said in Parliament on Wednesday when he delivered a ministerial policy statement that the Government would replace all outdated equipment in various defence units with modern facilities.

Earlier, United Party for National Development (UPND) Mbabala Member of Parliament (MP) Ephraim Belemu urged the minister to consider modernising the Ministry of Defence.

Mr Belemu appealed to the Government to be cautious when issuing statements concerning the country's security.

But Mr Mwamba said the statements that the Government issued recently regarding the recruitment of ex-servicemen was correct, but was quick to state that the situation was under control.

"There are no careless statements, there is no smoke without fire, the statement we issued to the public arises from the information we received from credible security wings and we were merely informing the nation and not alarming it," Mr Mwamba said.

The minister said the Government had identified an investor to take over the running of Mulungushi Textiles in Kabwe.

Mr Mwamba was responding to UPND Mazabuka Central MP Garry Nkombo who in supporting the ministry budgetary allocation urged the minister to ensure that Mulungushi Textiles was revamped.

Mr Nkombo said revamping Mulungushi Textile would create employment for many young Zambians.

And Mr Mwamba said the Government would next year recruit more personnel, recapitalise the Defence industries, and introduce youth training skills.

Of the K2,057,648,621,072 allocation, 79 per cent would go towards personal emoluments while the remaining 21 per cent would be spent on recurrent departmental charges and capital projects.

Mr Mwamba said the ministry would provide K10.3 billion to complete the Northern Command Hospital in Ndola to improve access and quality of medical services for military personnel in the country.

He said the ministry would train 550 youths out of whom 350 would be boys and 200 girls at Zambian National Service Chiwoko Camp in Eastern Province and in Kitwe.

He said the training programme, which had since commenced and would run for 18 months ending in May, 2014, would train the youth in general agriculture, automotive mechanics, bricklaying and plastering, and plumbing.

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