- by Julia Malunga on 20 Aug 2019by Natasha Sakala on 19 Aug 2019by Natasha Sakala on 19 Aug 2019by Ulande Nkomesha on 19 Aug 2019
- by Mukosha Funga on 19 Aug 2019by Natasha Sakala on 17 Aug 2019by Ulande Nkomesha on 17 Aug 2019by Natasha Sakala on 16 Aug 2019
- by Julia Malunga on 19 Aug 2019by Zondiwe Mbewe on 19 Aug 2019by Daniel Chansa on 16 Aug 2019by Zondiwe Mbewe on 16 Aug 2019
- Goal Diggers
- by Abraham Kalito on 8 Aug 2019by Abraham Kalito on 8 Aug 2019by Abraham Kalito on 5 Aug 2019by Abraham Kalito on 28 Jul 2019
- by Diggers Editor on 20 Aug 2019by Diggers Editor on 18 Aug 2019by Diggers Editor on 16 Aug 2019by Diggers Editor on 15 Aug 2019
- Guest Diggers
- by Chisoni Mumba, PhD on 17 Aug 2019by CUTS on 4 Aug 2019by Kangwa Muyunda on 3 Aug 2019by Rueben Lifuka on 31 Jul 2019
- Editor's Choice
- by Diggers Correspondent on 24 May 2019by Diggers Reporter on 4 Mar 2019by Andyford Mayele Banda on 29 Jan 2019by Davies Mwila on 22 Jan 2019
- by Diggers Correspondent on 11 Aug 2019by Mukosha Funga on 27 Jul 2019by Mukosha Funga on 21 Jul 2019by Web Master on 27 Jun 2019
UPND MPs walkout, reject National Health BillBy Sipilisiwe Ncube on 3 Mar 2018
UPND members of parliament yesterday walked out of the House in protest of the National Health Insurance Bill before it could pass a second reading.
But despite the walk-out, the bill passed a second reading and Minister of Health Dr Chitalu Chilufya is scheduled to present the bills committee stage on Friday next week.
UPND Chief Whip Garry Nkombo, who led the protest, told journalists that government wanted to over tax citizens because they had failed to secure an IMF deal.
“We would like to tie this particular tax (NHI) to their (government’s) failure to reach a deal with the IMF – they’ve failed to get the money they wanted from the IMF and they now want to mop up the money from the already over-taxed Zambians,” said Nkombo.
On Thursday, opposition and independent members of parliament pressed the executive to withdraw the bill and subject it to consultation.
Among those who debated against the proposed bill was rebel Roan PF member of parliament Chishimba Kambwili who warned that using the arrogance of numbers to pass bad bills would boomerang.
“Honorable minister, Honorable Vice-President, for the sake of the country to avoid having problems with the unions, to avoid having problems with the employers, associations, please let’s do the right thing. Defer the bill even for a week or two, go and consult these people, listen to their inputs and come back to this House so that when we pass the bill, it is a bill that is accepted by everybody. This idea of wanting to push things because you have got numbers will boomerang and us will just be laughing at you. So for one, please I beg you, there is no hammering here, there is no winner, there is no loser. Health is a matter of urgency, is a matter that concerns everybody,” said Kambwili.
And Mbabala UPND member of parliament Ephraim Belemu proposed that the bill be withdrawn as it was not desirable for Zambians.
“In the form that this Bill has been presented, its not desirable that it proceeds. For me I would even propose that probably we must even consider withdrawing it for now. Whatever flowery language that we might use, the fact is that this insurance that will go with it are a form of a tax. It is a tax. In fact the correct form to call it would have been the Health Insurance tax. If we ask ourselves that in the short time that PF have been in government, how many taxes have you introduced? And you are basically targeting the same people. We are burdening people,” Belemu argued.
He said it was high time government relieved its people from so many taxes.
“Why can’t we relieve people for a while? Let them breath from the so many other taxes that have been introduced. We cannot hope to move ourselves into prosperity by taxing all the time. Allow me to quote what Winstone churchil said concerning tax ‘for a nation to try to tax itself into prosperity is like a man standing in a bucket and trying to lift himself up by the handle.’ we shall sink and continue sinking the country. One day you will remember us because its in a short time that we are giving you advice. Very soon we will stop because we have realized that you don’t listen. You will remember us one day and it maybe too late,” said Belemu.
Chiengi FDD member of parliament Given Katuta also demanded that the bill be withdrawn.
“This bill can be a good bill if well prepared and cooked and brought to the dining table where everybody would enjoy the meal I would put it that way, but after listening to the minister and after going through the draft itself, I feel that …I will borrow the words that honorable Kambwili used that we should give it some time for other stakeholders to be consulted. We are Zambians, the executive are the directors, but the shareholders are the Zambians themselves. And these directors who are in the executive are suppose to report to the board of directors which is parliament so that we tell them what is suppose to be done. Should we just be adamant because we are in power? We are the voices of the voiceless. I am urging this government which claims to be a listening government to listen to the cries of the people rethink on this bill,” Katuta debated.
And Mwembweshi independent member of parliament Machila Jamba wondered whether government would subsidize for Zambians who were not in employment.
“The ratio of people who are working here in Zambia is maybe one to a thousand (1:1000). Are you sure that the money that I will pay is going to subsidize for everyone who is not working? You know compliance is very important. When someone understands something, you can make someone buy a fridge in Iceland because you have persuaded them and they have understood, they have bought into it. Don’t come with so much that ‘no, am going to do this because I am the one who is a master here’. Let us go to the people and explain to them in simple terms what this insurance in tells so that people can understand. We support this bill but what we are saying minister, we know you are educated, what we are saying is that please may you understand. Madam speaker, as I sit down, please I want to urge the executive, they are not our masters. We are all servants here in Zambia. Can we please if possible withdraw this bill and bring it later when we have actually exhausted all means and all conversations,” said Jamba.
About Sipilisiwe Ncube
Sipilisiwe Ncube has a background in radio news.
Email: sipilisiwe [at] diggers [dot] news
- K1,500 surcharge for CBU students a fundraising venture – Kabwita - 12 Aug 2019
- PF has opened overnight street vending along Lusaka’s Lumumba Rd – Moonga - 12 Aug 2019
- Oasis Forum calls for withdrawal of Constitution bill - 9 Aug 2019
- Africa needs about US $660bn annually to achieve SDGs – UNCA - 9 Aug 2019
- Africa needs home-grown solutions for its challenges – Lungu - 8 Aug 2019
- Opposition MPs with plots in Forest 27 must give them up - Nkombo (2,123 views)
- Lungu is in gear 5 of 2021 campaigns (1,848 view)
- Mercury Security Services sues Lusaka lawyer over K2m fees (939 views)
- UPND reports GBM to police for 'tribal hatred' (894 views)
- Only a miracle can stop kwacha’s depreciation – Hamaundu (880 views)
- Lungu must urgently declare hunger crisis, insists HH
- We’re a hungry nation because we insist that maize is our staple food
- The corrupt are evil, we must not glorify those who steal from us – Musa
- We can give mine licenses to Zambians, but we also need foreign investors – Musukwa
- Opposition MPs with plots in Forest 27 must give them up – Nkombo
- Lungu was one of my brightest pupils, retired teacher tells court
- It's not LAZ but 2,3 overzealous lawyers challenging Bill 10 - Siliya
- Tutwa leads campaign to impeach LAZ president
- I'm suing Tutwa for alleging that I've been paid to fight govt - LAZ president
- Don’t tell us what to do, if you see hunger, just donate, Lungu responds to British Envoy
Subscribe For News In Email
The News Diggers
Deputy News Editor
Plot No. Lus/9812/649-MC8
off Alex Chola Road
P.O. Box 32147
Telephone or WhatsApp:
diggers [at] diggers [dot] news
editor [at] diggers [dot] news
Send this to a friend