PAMBASHE PF member of parliament Ronald Chitotela has lamented that Cabinet Ministers are wasting money by not occupying government houses.

Speaking when he rose a matter of public importance in Parliament, Tuesday, Chitotela said minister’s houses had been vacant for 10 months and were a huge cost on the Treasury.

“Madam Speaker, I wish to rise on a matter of public importance pursuant to standing order number 134 reading together with 135 on the admissibility. Madam Speaker, I am concerned and the people of Zambia are concerned with the Minister of Housing Infrastructure and Urban Development in the manner that the Cabinet Ministers after being appointed, the houses that were occupied by the previous Cabinet Ministers have remained unoccupied for the period of 10 months, costing the Treasury substantive amounts of money in terms of the housing allowance, and affecting members of Parliament who are supposed to be accommodated at National Assembly Motel, putting their lives in danger. Others are being accommodated in various localities risking your members of parliaments. I want to seek your indulgence Madam Speaker, whether the Minister for Housing, Infrastructure and Urban Development is in order to remain quiet when government houses in excess of 20 have remained unoccupied for the period now 10 months,” said Chitotela.

“Ministers are still occupying rooms at the Parliament Motel, disadvantaging your members of parliament who are supposed to stay there and drawing huge sums of Housing allowance from the Treasury, disadvantaging the Ministry of Finance to allocate that money to other pressing issues of economic importance. Tomorrow, we shall hear that one member has been abducted because people have been placed across Lusaka in various lodges because Parliament Motel is fully booked and occupied by Ministers. Madam Speaker, is the Minister responsible for Housing, Infrastructure and Urban Development in order to remain quiet while government facilities and houses are being vandalised, unoccupied and ministers have deliberately refused and chosen not to move in those houses? I seek your guidance Madam Speaker.”

But in her ruling, Speaker of the National Assembly Nelly Mutti said the matter Chitotela raised did not meet criteria set out in standing orders 135.

“On the government houses that have not been occupied as raised by the Honorable member for Pambashe, honorable member in terms of admissibility, the criteria set out in standing order 135, all the criteria must be met. It is just not one criteria that has to be meant, all the criteria has to be met in order for a point to be admitted as a matter of urgent public importance. So the matter that the Honorable member for Pambashe has raised does not meet the criteria for admissibility as required under standing order 134 and 135. It is therefore not admitted, but the honourable member for Pambashe can put in a question which can be addressed by the respective Minister by way of a Ministerial statement,” said Speaker Mutti.

And Lumezi independent member of parliament Munir Zulu and Chiengi Independent member of parliament Given Katuta also raised matters of public importance concerning the increased number of road traffic accidents, but Speaker Mutti guided that she had already instructed the Minister in charge to give a ministerial statement on the matter.

Meanwhile, when Chama South PF MP Davison Mung`andu rose on a matter of public importance on the rise of suicide cases in the country, Speaker Mutti also guided that she had already instructed the Community Development Minister to give a ministerial on the matter.