INFRASTRUCTURE, Housing, and Urban Development Minister Charles Milupi says it’s not right to expect all issues in the country to be resolved in UPND’s first budget.
Milupi was responding to a question from Chitambo PF member of parliament Remember Mutale in Parliament, Friday.
Mutale wanted to find out why government did not have money to complete the Milenge-Kasanka road despite the budget being passed.
“The honourable member for Chitambo is a very intelligent person and very experienced and I’m sure he understands the process of running entities especially vis-à-vis applications of budgets. Time and again, and in fact, her honour the Vice President this morning alluded to the very tight conditions that this country is operating under. It is therefore not proper to expect that all issues in the country will be resolved in the first budget,” he said.
“What was said is that when we pass the budget, the programmes that are within that budget will be tackled. But you cannot therefore as a nation put everything in the first budget especially when you are operating under a very tight fiscal space. The items that may not be in the budget are still being attended to and that is why with respect to this Milenge-Kasanka road, even though it is not in the plans for bituminous standards for this year, we are addressing the need to ensure that our people in those parts are able to access the road.”
Milupi insisted that the country did not have the resources, which he said was why the Minister of Finance and the President were working day and night to put the economy back on track.
“We have said we have put some money, K5.2 million to do a gravel road. And what we are saying is that out of that which has already been allocated, K3 million has been released and that’s why we are saying out of the 71 kilometers of that road, 40 kilometers of that road has already been done. That shows the intent of the government to address the needs of our people but as to expect each and every road in this country, and I have travelled throughout the length and breadth of this country, the need is great compared to the resources that this country has,” he said.
“We do not have the resources and that is why the Minister of Finance and the President are working day and night to expand the economy, to put the economy back on track so that you can have more resources to address a lot more areas in our country than what we are able to right now.”
And speaking earlier, Minister of Tourism and Arts Rodney Sikumba disclosed that the government decided to halt the process of awarding hunting concessions because a lot of anomalies were discovered after conducting a review.
“We are a new government and when we came into government, we needed to do a complete audit of the misdemeanors that were happening within the government. Now in terms of misdemeanors, one of them is the issue of hunting concessions. The first thing that was brought to our attention is why is it that our local Zambians, black Zambians are not participating in that business? We only see our Zambians requesting resident hunting and bonafide when they go to their chiefs. So we consciously decided to go back and say can we do a review,” said Sikumba.
“In doing that review we realized that there were a lot of anomalies that were attributed to the awarding of the hunting concessions and as such, that process was stalled immediately after the UPND government was voted into power. I have been going through those documents, I have engaged stakeholders and it is our own belief that once that whole process is done we should be able to announce to the rest of the country on what decisions we have made. But I can rest assure you that the moment the hunting concession is announced, we want to ensure that Zambians are empowered, we want to give the Zambians the first right of refusal so that they enjoy the resources that exist in their country.”
The Tourism Minister was responding to a question posed by Chama South PF member of parliament Davison Mung`andu who wanted to find out when the government will conclude safari hunting concessions.