INES deputy minister Richard Musukwa says he remains confident that Zambia will hit the projected 1.5 tonnes production of copper by 2015.
And Speaker of the National Assembly Dr Patrick Matibini this afternoon again ruled that he will not be compelled to force the government to state President Michael Sata’s health condition.
Responding to an oral question by Chembe MMD member of parliament Mwansa Mbulakulima on how much copper Zambia produced in 1991, 2004, 2011 and 2013, year by year, Musukwa said production had continued to increase steadily.
Musukwa told the House that copper production in 1991 was 366,627 tonnes; in 2004 it increased to 424,142 tonnes with 2011 recording 667,604 tonnes while in 2013, the figure recorded was 763,805 tonnes.
In a follow-up question, Mbulakulima asked when the country would hit the one million tonnes mark to which Musukwa said by the end of 2014.
“As honourable Mbulakulima has rightly observed, there has been a steady increase in copper production because of the many mining projects that we have been ramping up. As government, we envisage that by the end of 2014, as we have more mining operations ramping up, we shall actually hit that mark,” Musukwa said.
“In fact, we envisage that by the end of 2015 we should hit in excess of over 1.5 million tonnes of copper because of the many mining activities taking place.”
Liuwa MMD member of parliament Dr Situmbeko Musokotwane wondered whether the country could not attain the one million tonnes copper production estimate in 2013 owing to the ‘squabbles’ taking place between the government and mining
companies, and Musukwa said there were no such squabbles.
“Mr Speaker, we have no squabbles whatsoever, which the honourable
member is referring to. What we can assure him is that we still continue to attract foreign direct investment in the mining sector,” Musukwa said.
And ruling on a point of order by Monze UPND member of parliament Jack
Mwiimbu, who again wondered whether the House and the nation at large was in order to continue speculating on the whereabouts and the state of health of President Sata, Speaker Matibini said the government’s position on the matter was clear.
“I have listened very carefully to your point of order although it is a long and winding point of order and although it has referred to several provisions of the constitution, as I understand, it goes down and revolves itself into two factual questions namely one, the whereabouts of the President, two, the state of health of the President,” Speaker Matibini said.
“As regards the whereabouts of the President, you have rightly pointed out yourself that there was an official announcement or communication from the Minister of Information clarifying the dates when the President arrived and also confirming the fact that the President is within the jurisdiction of the country. To that extent of the question, I don’t see any calls for speculation in light of the statement issued by the Minister of information and Broadcasting. Whether the speculation is taking place or not, as far as I am concerned, it’s neither here nor there. What is important is that there is an official statement issued by the relevant ministry.”
As regards the state of President Sata’s health, Speaker Matibini said he had already ruled on that matter just like his deputy, Mkhondo Lungu did in his absence.
“And most recently there was a question during the Vice-President’s question time in the House and this question was raised by the honourable member for Muchinga and a follow up question by the honourable member for Keembe,” Speaker Matibini said.
“The Vice-President indicated that in as far as that subject is concerned all communications will be issued by State House. That is the current position; as and when need arises, those communications will be made and earlier on I did indicate in my ruling that I will not compel anybody especially the Minister of Health to state anything.”
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