Government raises only K200,000 from forestry products

Government raised about two hundred thousand kwacha from issuing licenses for forestry products in Eastern Province last year.

Eastern Province Minister, Makebi Zulu, however, says the money is not enough and there is need to increase the value of forestry products for the benefit of the province.

Mr. Zulu was speaking when he featured on a programme dubbed, Government Forum on the national broadcaster last evening.

Mr. Zulu says government wants to ensure that there is full realization from wood products in the province, by adding value locally.

Mr. Zulu says government has made tremendous progress towards the curbing of illegal marketing, selling and harvesting of the Mukula and timber trees and will not allow any export of round wood.

And Mr. Zulu says government has moved from talking about the potential that the province has in creating an enabling environment, to full realization of the potential.

He mentioned that government will ensure that there is investment in the mining of Gold in Vubwi and Petauke and Limestone in Nyimba district, so that the resources can add to the national revenue.

The minister says the construction of the railway line from Chipata to Central Province will attract more investment to the province especially in the mining sector.

Meanwhile, Mr. Zulu says most developmental projects that had stalled two years ago due to financial challenges, have resumed and contractors are on sites to finish the works.

He mentioned some of the construction works as the         Chipata-Vubwi and Chipata-Chadiza roads and the               Sinda-Petauke stretch of the Great East Road, whose works have resumed.

Mr. Zulu also mentioned construction works for district hospitals that are progressing well in the province.

He added that ZNS, the Zambia National Service will construct 36 rural roads in the province to make most rural areas accessible especially by small scale farmers.

Government to get to the bottom of GBV

Government says it is working hard to ensure that GBV, Gender Based Violence is curbed in the country.

Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Community Development, Mother and Child Health, Howard Sikwela, says government is working on finding out the cause of GBV so that it can immediately be stopped because it demeans the dignity of people.

Mr. Sikwela says most of the GBV cases are psychological problems by perpetrators.

He was speaking when a delegation from Ministry of Health, Community Development, Mother and Child Health, Justice, Gender and World Vision paid a courtesy call on Eastern Province Assistant Secretary, Loyd Tembo, at Provincial Administration this morning.

The delegation is in Chipata to inspect the three one stop centers in Chipata, Katete and Nyimba districts.

And World Vision Chief Party, Annie Zulu Banda says the organization has been working with the four ministries to end GBV in the country since 2012.

Mrs. Banda says the stop GBV program which was funded by USAID will come to an end next year and asked government to find ways of continuing the program because the vice is still escalating.

And Eastern Province Assistant Secretary, Loyd Tembo says government will continue working on ending GBV even when cooperating partners withdraw their support.

He thanked World Vision for spearheading the program by working with the four ministries.


PS Chanda Kasolo tells off PF cadres

Eastern Province Permanent Secretary, Chanda Kasolo has dismissed allegations from the PF, Patriotic Front Party that his administration is not working with the ruling party.

Reacting to the PF provincial leadership, which has called for his removal from office, Mr. Kasolo said that he will not be intimidated by cadres because he is a civil servant and not a politician.

Speaking to Breeze News, Mr. Kasolo also said that PF cadres do not have an absolute right to government contracts.

He explained that the provincial tender board committee will award contracts based on merit whether the construction company bidding for the contract is owned by someone from the ruling party or opposition political party.

Mr. Kasolo explained that the provincial tender board committee is guided by ZPPA, Zambia Public Procurement Authority guidelines when awarding contracts.

The permanent secretary stated that as a public officer, he has an obligation to work for Zambians and not politicians asking him to give them contracts and jobs for their relatives.

He denied ever assisting UPND sympathisers, who own construction companies, contracts and pushing for their quick payment.

Yesterday the PF held a press briefing, where Provincial Secretary, Joseph Kolosa demanded for Mr. Kasolo, deputy permanent secretary, Patrick Mwanawasa and Chipata District Commissioner, Kalunga Zulu to be dismissed for failing to work with the PF and assisting to enrich UPND members through awarding them contracts.

Government distributes a tractor and six tillers to farmers.

Gender and Child Development Minister, Victoria Kalima has distributed one tractor and six tillers to farmers in four chiefdoms in Eastern Province.

The farm implements are being given to farmers through their traditional leaders.

Ms Kalima handed over a tractor to Chief Msoro in Mambwe district and tillers to Senior Chief Nsefu in Mambwe, Senior Chief Kalindawalo and Chief Mwanjabanthu in Petauke district.

Ms. Kalîma says the aim of the Advance Program is to increase productivity in agriculture.

She was speaking yesterday when she handed over the equipment to farmer cooperatives, who gathered at palaces for Chief Msoro and Senior Chief Nsefu in Mambwe district.

Ms. Kalima says government is targeting to distribute 288 farm equipment to all chiefdoms in the country.

The minister, who is also Kasenengwa Member of Parliament, says plans are underway to distribute crop processing equipment for value addition.

Chipata City Council starts connecting traffic lights

The local authority in Chipata District has started connecting the traffic lights to ZESCO, the Zambia Electricity Supply Corporation line.

Chipata City Council Director of Engineering, Costen Mvula says a cable that was vandalised on the Umodzi Highway was connected over the weakened, and that testing of the traffic signals was done.

Mr. Mvula says that all the traffic lights on the three junctions, Church, Parirenyatwa and Nasser roads are being connected to ZESCO lines.

He says the traffic lights will be operationalized soon once connections are concluded.

He says the council has faced a number of challenges because some cables were vandalised, a situation he described as worrying.