North Western Province Minister Richard Kapita says there will be no land left for Zambian if foreigners continue to obtain land leases for 99 years.

Speaking when he featured on ZNBC’s government forum yesterday, Kapita suggested that foreigners must only be allowed to obtain land leases for about 25 years and renewable afterwards.

“We cannot very easily give away land to people we don’t know just because they are going to give you money. I must admit that this is going to be a challenge but we must talk to our people to ensure that they do not sell their land because it’s our duty as government to educate our people that they should not fall prey to these people who come calmly like small carrots to buy their land and when you look at what they are doing in these cities you find that they have defiled the place,” Kapita said.

“It is up to us to come up stiffer laws that ensure that foreigners do not own land exclusively and we do not want our traditional leaders in rural areas to be selling land or to go ahead and collect leases for 99 years. That should not be the case and we should look at policies that ensure that foreigners must get land, perhaps we should say they can own land for 25 years instead of 99 years so that it is removed after sometime. Otherwise, at some point Zambians will not have land.”

And Kapita said the planned Chingola-Solwezi dual carriageway will open up traffic and reduce congestion on the two mining towns.

“The Solwezi-Chingola road has been bad for a long time. However, when the PF government came into power only six years ago they embarked on a programme to see that the road is worked on because it is an economic road and if you see the amount of trucks that trade on that road ferrying copper then you will know that there is no way that any sensible government can ignore working on it. The PF government has already started working on the 168 kilometer road and it is estimated that government is going to spend close to k1.2 billion and I want to report that the figure might rise to k1.8 billion because there are features we wish to include on that road like the toll gates,” Kapita said.

“I know that there are four contractors on the road right now working. One is from China Geo and he actually has a bigger potion then the PF government has insisted that 20 per cent of the contract must go to a Zambian contractor. So we also have a local contractor on that road. And by December this year, 58 kilometres of the road is likely to be done and when the rains start, they would have completed that part of the road. In addition to that, we requested government that we can’t just have a big nice road getting into Solwezi or at the outskirts of Solwezi so we asked for variation to include a dual carriageway within the town.”

Meanwhile, Kapita said government would soon revamp the pineapple industry in the province.

“In the pineapple industry to tell you the truth, I can tell you that Ikeleng’i and Mwinilunga will be the best producers of pineapples. We used to have a factory their and a lot of people educated their children with the money raised from pineapples because there was a small factory which was privatised I think and the equipment sold by the former MMD government. But I am happy to state that His Excellency the President in the last opening of Parliament did state that government is keenly looking at gathering investors to ensure that that factory is revamped so that we can have our own products because in terms of pineapples we used to be the best producers not what I am seeing coming from South Africa,” Kapita said.

And Kapita said he had been working well with all Members of Parliament as Provincial Minister.

“I knew there was a lot of disunity when I was appointed Provincial Minister, as you may be aware because North Western Province is represented by 11 opposition members of Parliament and so I understood that some of them were colleagues I worked with when I was on their side so I knew that there would be these things. But the first thing I did was to actually address my colleague members of Parliament who were elected by the people in the Province that elections were over and it was important that we denounce disunity and work together so that non of our people are left behind,” said Kapita.

“I told them that it was clear that there will be no elections between now and 2021 so it’s imperative that we deliver to the people that elected us and since government seeks to serve, there is no point in denying the fact that in order to get development in any area, you have to work with the government of the day and this I did emphasise.”