Friday, March 09, 2012

FRA's mandate under review

FRA's mandate under review
By Kabanda Chulu
Fri 09 Mar. 2012, 11:59 CAT

THE government is in the process of revising operations of the Food Reserve Agency (FRA) so that it reverts to its original mandate of buying strategic food reserves only, says agriculture minister Emmanuel Chenda.

And Parliament unanimously supported and approved the motion moved by Solwezi Central MMD parliamentarian Lucky Mulusa that government urgently develop a broadly shared economic and human development strategy that can translate economic growth into tangible benefits to improve livelihoods.

Parliament also approved President Michael Sata's directive to abolish and establish government ministries and departments.

And justice minister Sebastian Zulu tabled the Anti Corruption Bill that will come up for presentation and reading on March 23, 2012.

Responding to Kalomo member of parliament Request Mutanga's question on what government was doing to address challenges faced in executing the Farmer Input Support Programme (FISP), Chenda on Wednesday said the process of revising the programme had been done and was waiting Cabinet approval.

"The FISP has been revised in order to promote and market other cash crops apart from maize and we are also in the process of reviewing the operations of the FRA so that it reverts to its original mandate of purchasing food crops for strategic national reserves only," he said.

And Mulusa, when moving the motion, said Zambia needed to implement economic policies that were designed and owned by Zambians in order to address the current situation where inadequate benefits accrue to local people despite positive economic growth.

He said there was need to put measures that would allow Zambians to reap benefits from its mineral wealth, rich soils and tourism potential.

"Zambia is wealthy but where is the wealth of the nation? Where does it go? The method of funding of public goods is in form of loans and grants and very little from taxes and other forms of government income so where does Zambia's wealth go?" asked Mulusa.

Opposition chief whip Felix Mutati said the motion was not controversial and shouldn't be over-debated while finance minister Alexander Chikwanda said the government was all-inclusive and would support the motion without any reservation.

Earlier, Speaker of the National Assembly Patrick Matibini guided the House on the subject of points of order.

He said points of order were frequently being misused and abused, resulting in detracting the House from considering business before it.

"Points of order ought to primarily relate to interpretation or enforcement of the rules of procedure and conduct of business in the House. So members can invite my attention to any instance when a breach of order of any law of the House has been committed," said Matibini.

"But in very exceptional circumstances, if a matter is grave, urgent and of utmost national importance, I may allow a point of order to be raised and members should ensure that facts are accurate before raising any point of order."

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