A South African national has been arrested in Petauke district for being in possession of biological resources commonly known as Mukula logs.
Eastern Province Deputy Police Commissioner, Patrick Billy told Breeze News this morning that Gideon Daniel aged 41 of Mpumalanga Province in South Africa was arrested yesterday.
Mr. Billy says that a Ma diesel truck carrying the logs was ceased around 04 hours.
He says that Mr. Daniels is currently in police custody in Petauke and is expected to appear in court tomorrow.
Mr. Billy has warned that police are vigilant and will not tolerate any foreigner illegally trading in biological resources.
Meanwhile Special Assistant for Press and Public Relations Kaizer Zulu has been discharged in the case in which he was charged with failure to take precaution against injury.
This relates to the shooting incident at Chrismar Hotel after the Presidential aide was involved in a bar altercation with former vice President Enoch Kavindele’s son Enoch junior.
Resident Principal Magistrate Mwaka Mikalile discharged Mr Zulu after the State entered a nolle prosequi.
Some contractors working on developmental projects in Eastern Province are delaying to complete the works because of delayed reports to government.
Eastern Province Deputy Permanent Secretary, Patrick Mwanawasa revealed this to Breeze News.
Mr. Mwanawasa cited the Chipata- Chadiza and Chipata Vubwi as projects that have delayed to be completed.
He added that the construction of Lundazi district hospital has also delayed to be completed.
Mr. Mwanawasa has attributed the slow pace of the works to delay by RDA, the Road Development Agency to send a report so that government can release the money.
On Lundazi District hospital, Mr. Mwanawasa says the situation is the same, as the consultant delays to send reports to government.
He however, acknowledged that the three projects have been receiving delayed payments, adding that this is so because contractors might not have met the government requirements.
The Deputy Permanent Secretary says the contract period for projects whose works started in 2014 is 18 months.
The Forestry Department has seen an increase in charcoal production since load shedding by ZESCO started.
Provincial Forestry Officer, Sylvester Siame told Breeze News that a lot of people have resorted to charcoal burning from the time the load shedding started.
Mr. Siame also says that officers involved in patrols that have been put up to monitor most routes, have discovered that the charcoal banners do not follow the regulations.
Mr. Siame says that this has led to a lot of land being degraded.
He has appealed to all charcoal producers in the province to be getting licenses so that they are advised on how to burn charcoal without damaging the environment.
Mr. Siame further says that doing so will assist in maintaining tree spices for the sake of having a favorable climate for the province.
And Mr. Siame says his department has already started making tree nurseries at M’supazi and Chimzele for the next tree planting exercise.
Some civil society organizations have described the 2016 national budget presented to parliament yesterday as a good budget.
Civil Society for Poverty Reduction CSPR says that the budget is fair and progressive because it has focused on consolidating the fiscal policy so that the economy can recover from foreign shocks.
In his brief analysis of the 2016 national budget, Civic Participation and Advocacy Programme Officer, Maxson Nkhoma says some of the positive aspects include diversifying the economy, job creation and maintaining agriculture, tourism and mining as key in economic development for the country.
Mr. Nkhoma further explained that the budget also brought out government’s willingness to enacting the budgeting and planning policy to ensure that there is enough citizen participation in budgeting processes.
He pointed out that this is the only way that the government service delivery can become responsive to the people.
Mr. Nkhoma however, noted that the government did not respond to one of its recommendations to increase the threshold for PAYE, Pay As You Earn from 3,000 Kwacha to 4,400 Kwacha.
He stated that it is important to note that government’s projection of collecting 800 metric tonnes of copper in the mining sector this year has so far failed, as only half of the projection has been met, meaning that it has reduced government’s revenue collection.
Finance Minister, Alexander Chikwanda yesterday unveiled a 53.14 billion Kwacha national budget for 2016, which represents 25.8 percent of the country’s GDP, Gross Domestic Product.
Chadiza District Hospital has been hit by a critical shortage of doctors.
A check at the hospital revealed that there is only one doctor at the hospital against a district population of more than sixty thousand.
The check also revealed that at its inception in February 2013, the hospital had 3 doctors but 2 of them have been transferred to other hospitals although they are still under the payroll of Chadiza District Hospital.
The situation has angered residents who have called on government to remove the 2 doctors from the district payroll and engage other doctors who are willing to work in the area.
Speaking on behalf of the residents, Robert Phiri said a number of deaths which could have been avoided have happened due to lack of doctors.
Mr Phiri also said that the doctor that is currently operating at Chadiza District Hospital is being overworked to the extent that he never has time to rest or to pursue any further education.
And Chadiza District Commissioner George Phiri said he is aware about the shortage of medical doctors at the institution and that efforts are being made to see to it that more doctors are employed.
Eastern Province has less than 50 per cent of the required number of midwives.
This came to light during the graduation of 207 nurses and midwives at Mwami Mission Hospital in Chipata.
Eastern Province Assistance Secretary, Beenzu Chikuba, says that the newly graduating midwives and nurses will assist in cautioning the staff deficit being experienced in most hospitals, once employed.
Ms. Chikuba says government recognizes the important role that the health sector plays in society.
She added that government is constructing four district hospitals in Chipata, Lundazi, Nyimba and Vubwi and 57 health posts across the province.
Ms. Chikuba indicated that this is to caution the long distances being covered by people to access health services and avoid congestion in hospitals.
The assistant secretary says that the European Union last year funded 1.3 million Kwacha to Chipata General Hospital, 1.6 million Kwacha to St. Francis hospital and 1.4 million kwacha to Mwami for infrastructure development.
She explained that over 5.4 million Kwacha has so far been released to the three nursing schools.
Ms. Chikuba says that the upgrading of most hospitals in order to accommodate specialized departments and construction of 600 health posts is one such measure to improve access to medical care.
Meanwhile government has been urged to address challenges being faced by the three nursing schools in Eastern Province.
Mwami School of Nursing Principal tutor, George Mwamba says that Chipata General, Mwami and St. Francis schools of nursing face similar challenges.
He was speaking during the graduation of 207 nurses and midwives at Mwami Mission Hospital in Chipata
Mr. Mwamba mentioned the challenges as limited staff establishment to accommodate old and newly recruited tutors and lack of utility vehicles.
He says that faculties in schools of nursing have identified staff who are eligible to be tutors so that they can beef up the staffing levels.
Mr. Mwamba says it is for this reason that government should consider lifting the stress of teaching staff due to the shortage of tutors and clinical instructors.
Finance Minister, Alexander Chikwanda has unveiled a 53.14 billion Kwacha national budget for 2016.
Presenting the budget under the theme” Fiscal Consolidation to safeguard our past achievements and secure a prosperous future for all” in parliament this afternoon, Mr. Chikwanda stated that the budget represents 25.8 percent of the country’s GDP, Gross Domestic Product.
The budget shows an increase of about 6.4 billion Kwacha to the 46.7 billion Kwacha national budget for 2015.
Mr. Chkwanda stated that the 2016 national budget will be financed through domestic revenue at 42.11 billion Kwacha and grants from cooperating partners of 550 million Kwacha.
He further explained that financing will comprise 6.07 billion Kwacha in the net external financing representing 2.9 per cent of GDP and net domestic borrowing of 1.75 billion Kwacha representing -point zero nine per cent of GDP.
Meanwhile Mr. Chikwanda announced that government has allocated 7.9 million Kwacha to cover costs of the 2016 tripartite elections and the constitution making process while 19.2 million Kwacha will be spent on general public services.
Five hundred and thirty-six point two million Kwacha has been allocated to the sinking fund to allow the government have the capacity to pay back the Euro bond debt.
Mr. Chikwanda also says that 13.2 billion Kwacha will be spent on economic affairs functions with notable allocations of 6.6 billion Kwacha for road infrastructure and 4.6 billion Kwacha for rehabilitation and upgrading of Kenneth Kaunda International Airport and establishment of a new national airline.
Nine point one billion Kwacha has been allocated towards education and skills development, 56.7 million Kwacha for irrigation projects, 750 million Kwacha for procurement of maize by FRA, the Food Reserve Agency and 5 million Kwacha for establishment of fisheries development fund.
One hundred and eighty-seven point five million Kwacha has been allocated to CEEC, 150 million Kwacha to the action plan on youth employment and empowerment and 35.7 million Kwacha to the women economic empowerment fund while youth skills training and development has been allocated 49.5 million Kwacha.
One hundred and eighteen point three million Kwacha has gone towards the rural electrification programme to facilitate rural access to electricity.
And Mr. Chikwanda indicated that to ensure equitable access to quality health care, he was proposing to spend 4.4 billion Kwacha.
Seven hundred and fifty-four million Kwacha of this money will go towards procurement of drugs and medical supplies while 340.7 million Kwacha will be for completion of on-going health infrastructure development.
The allocation also includes 73.8 million Kwacha for recruitment of frontline health personnel and 6.3 million Kwacha for establishment of national social insurance scheme.
Two hundred and seven nurses and midwives are today graduating at Mwami School of Nursing in Chipata.
Speaking to Breeze News at the combined graduation ceremony, Provincial Medical Officer, Abel Kabalo says the students are from Chipata General, Mwami and St Francis Nursing Schools.
Dr. Kabalo says 122 are enrolled nurses while 38 are registered nurses.
Twenty-seven are certified midwives while 19 are enrolled midwives.
Dr. Kabalo says the students are graduating with diplomas.
Traders at Saturday market have had no water supply for the last few weeks, due to an unsettled bill of over 100, 000 Kwacha.
Saturday Market Chairperson, Peter Soko, told Breeze News that this has forced authorities at the trading area to close the toilets.
Mr. Soko says that Eastern Water and Sewerage Company informed him that the company will be deducting 80 per cent of the money owed to them each time the market buys units for water.
Mr. Soko explained that because of this, the water has been finishing within hours of them buying water units.
And when contacted for comment, Eastern Water and Sewerage Company Public Relations Officer, Henry Kashoki, explained that the market has been put on pre-paid metering system due to the high unsettled water bill.
Mr. Kashoki says that eventually, all government departments will be put on the pre-paid metering system, to ensure that no further debts are accumulated.
And traders spoken to expressed concern over the lack of water, stating that this puts their health at risk.
The Ministry of Home Affairs has revealed corruption and nepotism in the first recruitment of officers engaged in the mobile issuance of NRCs, National Registration Cards.
Permanent Secretary, Chileshe Mulenga has told Breeze News that the Ministry of Home Affairs also discovered that some officers were not qualified for the job.
Dr. Mulenga says that these were the reasons under which some officers were recalled from the field and replaced with officers from Ministry of Home Affairs.
And Dr. Mulenga has challenged officers, who were recalled from the field and have evidence of unqualified people that have remained working, to submit their names because he will not tolerate corruption or nepotism.
Dr. Mulenga stated that teachers, agriculture staff, school leavers and any other government officer, who does not work under the Ministry of Home Affairs, should not be part of the exercise.
He was responding to a petition by officers, who were withdrawn from the exercise asking his office to intervene in the matter, which they have alleged was not transparent.
The officers have revealed names of officers under ministries of agriculture, community development, education, judiciary and school leavers who are still working.
The officers have further revealed names of people related to some ministers and senior government officials who are part of the exercise despite not being qualified.