Chief Government Spokesperson Dora Siliya says ZICTA does not yet have the legal backing to clamp down on social media abuse that has seen many citizens defrauded.

And Siliya says government is concerned that some young girls are using Facebook as a platform to market themselves to the opposite sex through posting of their nude pictures.

Meanwhile Central, Luapula and Northern Province ministers have shared their achievements from the recently held tourism and investment expos in their respective provinces.

Siliya said this at a joint press briefing at her ministry in Lusaka yesterday.

“What we have has been an absence of the right legal framework to address this matter. ZICTA is there as the authority in terms of technology provision in the country. but as government, we are providing for cyber laws to also address issues of financial transactions. How many Zambians have been defrauded electronically? Including on Facebook where people have been acting as ministers or other people in society and say ‘pay money to this account and you will get a job? How many people have I had here at my office with bank deposit slips and say ‘minister, you asked me to deposit K14, 000 and I did this morning [and] here is the bank slip?’ I have no idea what they are talking about because of the many fake Facbooks in my name,” Siliya said.

Asked why ZICTA was failing to detect all mobile financial fraud cases in the country, Siliya insisted that the authority did not have the legal backing yet.

“I believe ZICTA did not have the right legal backing because clearly, prosecution is a matter for the police but even the police did not have the legal framework to prosecute such cases. It is why now the Ministry of Transport and Communication and even the Ministry of Home Affairs and Justice, we are saying we need new legislations to provide for these new crimes that were not thought of before there were cell-phones, crimes that were not thought of before there was Facebook, WhatsApp calls and so on,” Siliya explained.

And Siliya says government was concerned that some young girls were using Facebook as a platform to market themselves to the opposite sex through posting of their nude pictures.

“This is an issue [of social media abuse] worldwide, we are all challenged on how do we protect children, how do we protect women? We have seen here in Zambia on slot of insults against women especially in leadership. Most of my colleagues tell me the number of girls who believe that Facebook should be used for posting naked pictures of themselves or advertising themselves to the male gender, [and] families should be concerned, not just government,” said Siliya.

Meanwhile, Luapula Province Minister Nickson Chilagwa said the results of the provincial expo had already started showing.

“As a result of the expo, we have over 70 companies that are at various stages of investing in Luapula Province. We have over ten who are already present on the ground and they are doing wonderful things and others are in various stages, some in the acquisition of land, some in the sorting out of the paper work which takes a bit of time but are set as Luapula Province. We believe that in three to four years time, Luapula will not be the same and it shouldn’t be the same,” said Chilangwa.

And Central province Minister Sydney Mushanga highlighted some of the projects which had emerged from the expo.

“A lot has happened in Central Province and first a ground breaking ceremony for the China Jianxi Multi-Economic Facility Zone was done by His Excellency and this took place just two weeks ago. And the actuall investment we are talking about is US $300 million where we are going to have more than 36 companies and these 36 companies will assist in employment creation. During the construction stage, 2, 000 employment opportunities will be provided for the local people then after the construction we are talking about more than 5,000 jobs and the Economic Facility Zone will be sitting on the 500 hectares piece of land,” said Musanga.

“Then apart from that after the expo, we have had investors wanting to put their resources in the energy sector. We will be upgrading the Lusiwasi Hydro Power station that is to increase the capacity of electricity supply for the various investment opportunities that we have in Central Province under the energy sector, tourism sector just to mention a few. Then after the investment expo we are talking about construction of a 120 Mega Watts solar power plant in Mumbwa. This is also underway. Actually the investors came on board after the successful hosting of the Investment expo. And also there is an intention by the Indian investor to construct a 750 bed capacity hospital in the province. We are thinking of having this hospital constructed between Chibombo and Chisamba because Kabwe General Hospital has since been turned into a Central hospital.”

Meanwhile, Northern Province Minister Brian Mundubile said the whole world had acknowledged that World War one ended in Zambia and that this was after the just ended tourism expo which was held simultaneously alongside WW1 centenary celebrations.