Referendum amendment Bill 2015 approved



CABINET has approved the Referendum amendment Bill 2015, whose objective is to amend the referendum Act of 1967 to conform it to the Constitution regarding the eligibility criterion for voting in a national referendum.
The Constitution requires 50 per cent of all people entitled to be registered as voters to vote in the referendum, while the Referendum Act provided for registered voters to vote in a referendum.
This is inconsistent and the Referendum amendment Bill 2015 will bring the Referendum Act in conformity with the Constitution.
Cabinet approved the introduction of the Bill to Parliament when it met during a meeting at State House yesterday.
Justice Minister Ngosa Simbyakula made the announcement during the press briefing after the Cabinet meeting.
Dr Simbyakula also said Government would take to Parliament a Bill to amend the Constitution to allow for the increase of the number of elected Members of Parliament (MPs) from 150 to 156.
This has been necessitated by the increase in the number of districts and the resultant effect of some constituencies now belonged to more than one district.
Dr Simbyakula who is acting chief Government spokesperson, said the Bill was necessitated by the creation of the new districts namely, Kapoche, Sinda, Chembe, Kiyema, Sioma, Chirundu and Ngabwe.
The Bill would be taken to Parliament to enable the Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) create the new constituencies and set up the new polling stations.
“This will not cause by-elections or affect Parliament. The changes will only be made after Parliament is dissolved next year,” Dr Simbyakula said.
He said the proposal has been agreed on with all political parties following a meeting organised by the political liaison committee of the ECZ.
Dr Simbyakula said Cabinet approved a National Resettlement Policy to protect resettlement schemes from illegal land allocation and create stable, economically sustainable settlement.
Cabinet also approved a K175 million lease facility from Stanbic Bank for the purchase of vehicles and other requisite equipment for Government institutions in order to ease logistical challenges.
Cabinet equally approved the contraction of a $22.4 million loan from the African Development Bank to support the implementation of the Lake Tanganyika Development Project, a project meant to protect the Lake Tanganyika Basin and improve the lives of the people living there.
In order to reduce expenditure on the procurement of VIP furniture, Cabinet approved the introduction of the furniture loan scheme.
Government would also issue a Statutory Instrument to raise the minimum paid up share capital to ensure companies have adequate funds to pay out to their clients.
Government has revised the definition of a youth from the current 18 to 35 years to 15 to 35 years to conform to international statutes and emphasise on youth mainstreaming and that Cabinet has also approved an empowerment action plan.
Dr Simbyakula said Cabinet approved the revised national disaster management policy which sought to move disaster management from a reactive approach to a pro-active approach.