President Edgar Lungu warns to fire lazy workers

President Edgar Lungu has arrived in Eastern Province on a three days working visit.

Breeze FM staffer Martin Mwape reports that the head of state arrived at Chipata airport aboard a Zambia Airforce plane at about 09:35 hours.

And speaking upon arrival, the President said that he was not in the province for politics but to get details on challenges which have hit the e-voucher system, FISP, the Farmer Input Support Programme and crop pests.

The president also said that he wants to find out about the disappearance of 170 metric tons of maize, which was destined for Mambwe.

President Edgar Lungu says government targets to produce about 10 million metric tonnes of maize this year.

President Lungu said farmers in the country will this year produce better yields if the rainfall pattern will continue as it has started.

President Lungu says the previous two to three million metric tonnes that the country has been producing was underproductive and the country can do better.

The Head of state said this when he paid a courtesy call on Paramount Chief Mpezeni of the Ngoni people at his palace this morning.

President Lungu says this was the reason why he is on the ground to see what is happening in the agriculture sector in terms of input distribution and Army worms attacking crops.

And speaking earlier, Paramount Chief Mpezeni said that he was happy that the head of state came to the province to see what was happening in the distribution of farming inputs but complained over the late distribution and confusion in the e-voucher system.

The Paramount Chief says most farmers in Chipata have not yet received their fertilizer under FISP, the Farmer Input Support Program despite farmers in other districts having received the inputs.

The Traditional leader however, says his area has not been affected by army worms.

In Response the head of state says he was expecting people spearheading the electronic vulture system to reverse to the conventional one after noticing challenges in the e-voucher.

He says people should not be surprised when he starts firing workers who have failed to work especially in the distribution of government subsidised inputs.

Meanwhile President Edgar Lungu has given a two months ultimatum for the construction of Paramount Chief Mpezeni’s palace to be completed.

President Lungu who inspected the construction works at the new palace says he was not happy that works have not been completed up to now despite all the building materials being on site.

The President asked the Provincial Minister, Makhebi Zulu, Eastern Province Permanent Secretary, Chanda Kasolo and Luangeni Member of Parliament, Charles Zulu to ensure that the palace is completed within two months.

He said he was not happy that what is being reported about the progress on the works is not what is on the ground.

President Lungu says reports in Lusaka indicate that works at the new palace are at 80 percent completion but that is not true, adding that government workers and politicians should not only be seen to be working during campaigns.

President Lungu says he wants to find progress on the works at the new palace when he comes for the Nçwala ceremony of the Ngoni people next month.

TBZ secures market for 1.1 million kilogrammes of tobacco stuck in Chipata.

Tobacco Board of Zambia TBZ has finally secured market for 1.1 million kilogrammes of tobacco stuck in sheds in Chipata.

TBZ Chief Executive Officer, Samson Muyembe confirmed this to Breeze News, stating that this follows a trip he made to Malawi yesterday.

Mr. Muyembe says that a Malawian company, Premium Tama will start collecting the tobacco in Chipata next week after which it will assess the quality of the crop.

He says that Premium Tama is expected to make payment for the crop within the next three weeks, which will allow TBZ to pay farmers, who are owed in Eastern Province.

And Mr. Muyembe revealed that TBZ has made a huge loss in selling the 1.1 million kilogrammes of tobacco to Premium Tama.

He however, says that the board has no choice but to sell the cash crop because it has been stuck in the sheds for a long time without market.

TBZ has been under pressure from farmers who sold their crop to the board in Eastern Province to pay them.

A crocodile attacks eight goats in Chadiza district

A crocodile at Chamcenga Dam in Chadiza district is reported to have caught about 8 goats belonging to farmers in the area.

Chadiza Central Ward Councillor Richard Mbewe confirmed the development to Breeze News today.

Mr Mbewe says that the eighth goat was caught yesterday around 15 hours.

He says that people are now living in fear.

The civic leader has appealed to Zambia National Parks and Wildlife to intervene in the matter before human life is lost.

He also appealed to the cattle herders and all the people around the area to be very careful with the reptile, which might attack them.

Government advised to fund schools

Government has been asked to be funding schools so that the policy of free education can be seen to be working.

UPND Provincial Publicity Secretary Victor Mbuzi told Breeze News that the free education policy is not working because children are being charged user fees by PTAs, Parents Teachers Associations in all schools.

Mr. Mbuzi says the policy to have free education from grade one to seven is a welcome move but it is not being implemented.

He observed the need for government to ensure that children have a brighter future through education, which he described as a key to development.

Mr. Mbuzi noted that as long as school authorities continue to demand for user fees, parents will face challenges to educate their children.

Government spends 1.5 million US dollars on a dam in Mambwe district

Government has spent over 1.5 million United States dollars to complete Chikowa Dam project in Mambwe district.

Ministry of Energy and Water Development Permanent Secretary Bishop Edward Chomba who is in Eastern Province to inspect the dam, told the media in Chipata that government is happy with the works done by Plem Construction Company.

Dr Chomba commended Plem Construction Company for the quality work saying government is pleased that the money has been used for the good purpose of helping the people of Mambwe district.

He says the existence of the dam in Mambwe will help develop fish farming as well as production of other crops such as vegetables.

Dr Chomba says the dam which has a capacity of 220,000 cubic meters of water will help animals access water.

He says Eastern Water and Sewerage Company which is now under the Ministry of Energy and water Development will be able to realize the much needed revenue because water is money.

Meanwhile Eastern Water and Sewerage Company needs about 200 million kwacha to expand the Lutembwe treatment plant.

Managing Director Lyton Kanowa further says that the utility company needs 20 million kwacha for water reticulation in Chipata district.

Mr Kanowa was speaking to the media during the tour of Lutembwe Dam 2 by Energy and Water Development Permanent Secretary Edward Chomba in Chipata.

Mr. Kanowa says the company expects to supply 18, 000 cubic meters of water to residents of Chipata daily, but supplies only 12,000 cubic meters of water with a deficit of 6,000 cubic meters.

He says to meet these challenges the company has embarked on expansion of treatment plant in Chipata and connecting 400 households in Nyimba in order to increase revenue collection for purchase of chemicals.

Mr. Kanowa says the company is also connecting water to 500 people in Mwami border and 200 at Chanida border to meet the capacity of treating water.

He says once this is done the company will be able to improve the capacity to treat water.

About 20 kilometers of the Great East Road develop defects

The Road Development Agency, RDA says approximately 20 kilometers of the Great East Road has developed some defects within the first year of its completion.

RDA Director for Communications and Corporate Affairs Loyce Saili confirmed this to Breeze News stating that the reasons for the defects have not been determined at the moment.

Ms. Saili explained that RDA has been monitoring the completed sections of the road and established that some small sections of the road in different locations totaling to about 20 kilometers have already developed some defects.

She says Independent Consultants have been engaged to carry out technical audits of the project from inception to monitor quality aspects at various stages of construction.

Ms. Saili added that a Technical Audit team has been requested to carry out a technical forensic audit of the sections that have developed defects and ascertain the cause of the defects.

She says the Team commenced the investigations in November 2016 and a report is expected to be out by mid-next month.

Ms. Saili says the Report will advise on causes of the defects and recommend repairs required to be done by the contractor.

Ms. Saili however, says the Nacala Road Project from Luangwa Bridge to Mwami Border covering a distance of approximately 345 kilometers was substantially completed in October last year.

Poor plots allocation causes floods in Chipata

Kapata ward councilor, Naphtali Banda, says allocating of plots along the banks of Lunkhwakwa stream has contributed to the floods that are affecting the area.

Mr. Banda says that it is strange that the local authority which is supposed to make good plans, allocated some plots just on the banks of Lunkhwakwa stream.

He noted that some structures have been put up just too close to the bank of the stream disturbing the water flow.

Mr. Banda has therefore demanded that all structures that have been built too close to Lunkhwakwa stream be demolished.

He also called for a review of how plots allocated too close to the stream were awarded stating that failure to do so will result in people in Kapata area continuing to experience floods whenever the district experiences heavy rainfall.

The councilor also cautioned that people stop the trend of throwing garbage in drainages, saying this is contributing to the blocking of drainages, thereby leading to floods.

And Chipata Mayor, Sinoya Mwale, has indicated that he will soon invite all Members of Parliament from Chipata district for a meeting, to address the issue of floods.

He said this will be done in older to ensure that various stakeholders are brought on board during developmental planning.

ERB suspends importation licenses for OMCs

The Energy Regulation Board ERB has suspended fuel importation licenses for Oil Marketing Companies OMCs.

ERB Director for Consumer and Public Affairs, Agnes Phiri says that this has been done in public interest to allow for smooth transition before the private sector takes over procurement of petroleum products.

In a statement availed to Breeze News, Ms. Phiri says that the suspension is merely an interim measure and does not amount to revocation.

She says that the suspensions are also meant to curtail misconduct in the sector which had resulted in some unlicensed entities engaging in fuel importation, contrary to the law, which prohibits importation without a valid license.

Ms. Phiri further explains that other malpractices involve OMCs wholesaling products and offering 30 days credit to their counterparts, when they do not hold wholesale licenses duly issued by the ERB.

She says that ERB is also aware that some OMCs were evading tax through the imports by abusing the SADC rules of origin provision and ignoring ERB license conditions, which do not allow transportation of fuel directly to service stations but through deports.

Ms. Phiri has pointed out that as a result government has suffered losses through tax evasions.


PF wants some district commissioners fired

The Patriotic Front PF Party in Eastern Province has demanded that some district commissioners be retired.

The party has further accused some police officers and officers from ZNS, the Zambia National Service of failing in their duties.

This is according to a statement released by nine PF district chairpersons following a meeting, which they held yesterday in Chipata.

The chairmen have alleged that some district commissioners are not coordinating well with the party officials and therefore deserve to be fired.

They have charged that district commissioners need to understand that they would not have been DCs without the Patriotic Front Party.

And the district officials say that some police and ZNS officers who are supposed to curb smuggling of maize are failing because they have been compromised.

Meanwhile President Edgar Lungu has received backing from the nine PF district chairpersons who say that he qualifies to contest the 2021 presidential elections.

They say that President Lungu only served for one year six months as head of state when he took over from late President Michael Sata, which does not amount to a full term of office.

The statement is signed by all the district chairpersons who include Michael Tembo for Vubwi, Emmanuel Mulenga for Lundazi Imange Mzidy for Mambwe, Mabvuto Mwanza for Nyimba and Ledger Tembo for Petauke district.

Five people arrested for re-bagging government inputs in Nyimba district.

Police in Nyimba District have apprehended five people in connection with the re-bagging of fertilizer under FISP, the Farmer Input Support Programme.

Eastern Province Police Commissioner Alex Chilufya and Provincial Permanent Secretary Chanda Kasolo confirmed the arrest in separate interviews.

Mr. Chilufya says that Police are questioning the suspects and will issue a comprehensive statement later.

And Mr Kasolo says that it is sad that people could be involved in the re-bagging of the government subsidized inputs.

He says that Government was spending a lot of money in the purchase of the farming inputs.

Mr. Kasolo has urged the law enforcement agencies to ensure that people involved are punished.