Eighteen pupils fall pregnant in Chadiza district

Eighteen pupils have fallen pregnant and dropped out of school between January and March this year in Chadiza district.

Chadiza District Education Board Secretary Misozi Mwenya has described the development as worrying because the number of female pupils dropping out of school due to pregnancies is on the increase.

 

Mrs. Mwenya says that government is putting so much emphasis on educating the girl child as evidenced by the implementation of the re-entry policy where a girl child goes back to school after delivery.

She also expressed disappointment over some parents who marry off their children at a tender age instead of taking them to school.

Mrs. Mwenya appealed to the parents to encourage their children to concentrate on education in order to be responsible citizens in future.

She was speaking during the Women Farmers Forum organised by Chadiza District Farmers Association.

Meanwhile Chadiza Women Farmers Forum Chairperson Ruth Banda has called on government to consider constructing a girl’s boarding Secondary School in the district.

Mrs Banda says that a girl’s boarding school will help to prevent child marriages and teenage pregnancies.

She also stated that issues of GBV and early marriages remain a major challenge in the district adding that government should not stop applying strong measures against culprits.

 

CSPR accuses government of hiring political cadres to work on projects

The Civil Society for Poverty Reduction CSPR has alleged that some contractors who have abandoned government projects are political cadres.

CSPR Advocacy and Programme Coordinator, Maxson Nkhoma has further charged that his organisation has information that some ministers own some of the construction companies, which have abandoned projects.

He says that it is disappointing that the government has become a victim of its own bitter pill on the construction sector by awarding construction jobs to certain Zambian contractors based on partisan politics and not capacity to do the work.

Mr. Nkhoma says that CSPR is worried with how government has handled the projects involving the construction of Chikando Secondary School and a lecture theatre at St. Francis Mission Hospital.

But Eastern Province Permanent Secretary, Chanda Kasolo has described the allegation from CSPR as unfair.

Mr. Kasolo says that although some construction companies could be owned by ministers, the process of selecting contractors is transparent.

He also indicated that the project involving a lecture theatre at St. Francis Mission Hospital has been normalised with works progressing well.

Mr. Kasolo also explained that he has assigned Chipata District Commissioner, Kalunga Zulu to carry out a proper investigation on why the project for Chikando Secondary School has stalled because it might be that government has not paid the contractor.

Low number of HIV postive children accessing ART worries government

The Ministry of Health has bemoaned the low number of Pediatric Anti-Retroviral Therapy, ART enrolment in Eastern Province.

Acting Provincial Health Director, Jairos Mulambya, says that there is need to ensure that more HIV positive children are put on treatment.

Dr. Mulambya says that although there are a number of children that are HIV positive, most of them have not been enrolled for treatment.

He was speaking during the fourth quarter integrated technical review meeting in Chipata.

And Senior Health Information Officer, Ovost Chooya, attributed the low enrolment of HIV positive children, to late receipt of Deep Brain Stimulation, DBS results caused by non-availability of re-agents and supplies.

Mr. Chooya says that the Provincial Health Office engaged Medical Stores Limited, which has now seen a steady supply of logistics in the province.

He however, noted that Pediatric ART enrolment was still low but that it was expected to improve.

Mr. Chooya also noted that the inconsistent availability of contraceptives and HIV testing kits, which had hit all districts in the province last year, was due to weak supervision in pharmaceutical services and lack of knowledge on completing the ordering tools among health facilities.

FRA reduces depots in Chadiza district

The Food Reserve Agency FRA has cut by half the number of satellite depots that it will use to buy maize in Chadiza district this marketing season.

Chadiza District Commissioner, George Phiri says that the agency has reduced the depots from 22 to 11 due to low number of maize purchased last year.

Mr. Phiri revealed this during a meeting for women farmers in Chadiza yesterday.

He explained that some satellite depots did not record any maize purchase last year because some farmers opted to sale their maize to private buyers.

The district commissioner says that government spent a lot of money on FRA workers, who never recorded any maize purchase in their depots.

He says that only depots that managed to buy some maize will be maintained.

And Mr. Phiri has encouraged women to take a leading role in farming business.

He says that government is ready to support women who have positive mind in farming adding that it will ensure that they have access to land.

 

EPCCI condemns ZESCO’s proposed tariff hike

The proposed electricity tariff increase by ZESCO, the Zambia Electricity Supply Corporation will increase the cost of doing business.

This is according to EPCCI, the Eastern Province Chamber of Commerce and Industry President, Thomas Mtonga.

Mr. Mtonga told Breeze Business News that the tariff increase will also push up the prices of services and goods, which will eventually have an effect on the economy.

He says that although the power company has broken down the 75 per cent proposed tariff adjustment, the phases are still high for ordinary Zambians to contain.

Mr. Mtonga says that the 50 per cent increase in May and 25 per cent increase in September puts the business community in an awkward situation.

He says that ERB, the Energy Regulation Board should advise ZESCO to break down the proposed percentage further to make electricity affordable.

Meanwhile some Chipata residents have completely condemned the proposed electricity tariff increase saying that it should be rejected.

Boniface Mbewe of Sido Compound in Chipata says that Zambians are already struggling with high cost of basic commodities and should not be made to suffer further.

East FDD support expulsion of Chifumu Banda

The Forum for Democracy and Development FDD in Eastern Province has backed the expulsion of former party Vice President Chifumu Banda.

This is according to a press statement availed to Breeze News by Provincial Information and Publicity Secretary Emmanuel Chamango and Provincial Chairlady Alice Ndemena.

Mr. Chamango and Ms. Ndemena say that despite Mr. Banda being vice president since 2005, he has not been active in party programmes and activities.

The duo has charged that these are among the reasons why Mr. Banda lost the August 11 general elections when he contested as Member of Parliament for Chasefu Constituency.

They say that the FDD in Eastern Province does not need leaders who go to sleep in times of trouble but cause confusion in the name of calling for a convention.

But Mr. Banda has refused to recognise his expulsion stating that procedure was not followed when expelling him.

JTI creates own tobacco floor

Poor infrastructure in tobacco floors has forced JTI, Japan Tobacco International to set up a floor within the company premises.

JTI Lead Production Manager Peter Chibale says Mugubudu and Kapara floors have poor infrastructure and sanitation while safety is also compromised.

Mr. Chibale says the floor at Mugubudu is situated along a busy road, which may result into accidents while toilets are dirty.

He was speaking yesterday in Chipata during the JTI Tour of Chipata operations.

Meanwhile Corporate Affairs Manager Litiya Matakala has bemoaned lack of dialogue between JTI and government on matters of policy on tobacco.

Mr. Matakala says government is not coming out on the way forward especially on natural resource management so that the company knows which way to go.

He says that there is need for the company and government to discuss on the best ways of addressing issues in relation to health and business of tobacco.

Mr. Matakala says it is up to the government to decide whether to ban the growing of tobacco or not failure to which JTI will continue to grow tobacco for more years to come.

Msekera Secondary School hit with classroom challenge

Challenges of classrooms have hit Msekera Secondary School in Chipata district.

This follows government’s decision to upgrade the school from a basic to a secondary school.

Parents Teacher Association PTA Chairperson Misheck Jere has appealed to parents to pay user fees so that the school can use some of the money to build a 1 by 3 classroom block.

In an interview with Breeze News, Mr. Jere says the school has challenges of classrooms for pupils from grades one to seven.

Mr. Jere says the school has asked parents to pay 100 kwacha for pupils who are in grade one up to seven while those in grade eight to twelve are supposed to pay 700 kwacha per year.

And Mr. Jere says that construction works on the lab at the school are about to be completed so that it can be operational.

The lab whose construction work started last year is being roofed after about 76 iron sheets were bought.

Over 12,000 males in Eastern Province targeted for circumcision.

The Ministry of Health has targeted to circumcise 12, 050 males in Eastern Province during the male circumcision month.

This is according to figures in the latest update on the Ministry of Health Facebook page.

Ministry of Health spokesperson, Kennedy Malama, who also confirmed the figures to Breeze News, says that the 12, 050 is out of the national target of over 108, 000 males.

Lusaka has the highest target of over 21, 400, followed by Western Province, which has over 19, 900.

He says other targets are over 15, 000 for the Copperbelt, over 13,400 for Central, 12,000 for Luapula, with the North Western having over 8, 000.

Meanwhile, in Southern Province, Dr. Malama says the Ministry targets to circumcise 7,000, males while over 5, 000 are targeted in Northern Province.

He has encouraged men to go for circumcision, saying it prevents HIV transmission from females to males by at least 60 percent, while also reducing the risk of penile cancer, improving hygiene in males and reducing the risk of males transmitting human papilloma virus, which increases the risk of cervical cancer in women.

ZESCO proposed tariff increase condemned

The 50 per cent electricity tariff adjustment proposed by ZESCO on 1st May has been condemned.

Civil Society for Poverty Reduction CSPR says that effecting the whole 50 per cent increment at once is too huge for consumers to take.

CSPR Information and Communication Officer, Maxson Nkhoma says that the move will affect majority businesses particularly small enterprises and may result in job losses as companies will be trying to develop surviving strategies for their businesses.

Mr. Nkhoma says that CSPR wishes to advise ERB, the Energy Regulation Board to only allow increment of power tariff in a phased manner of at least 40 per cent over a period of one year.

He says that this will give consumers a space to adjust their businesses without causing major changes in prices of goods and services.

ZESCO has applied to increase tariffs by 75 per cent, in two phases of 50 per cent on 1st May and 25 per cent in September this year.

And Mr. Nkhoma notes that the increment of electricity tariffs is inevitable due to the high cost of investments the government has made to increase power generation and transmission in the past few years.