Tobacco Board of Zambia TBZ says that some people are frustrating the board’s efforts to restructure the tobacco industry.
TBZ Executive Officer James Kasongo however, says that he will not allow anyone to frustrate his efforts and that of the board.
Speaking at the official opening of a stakeholders’ meeting in Lusaka yesterday, Mr. Kasongo stated that in a quest to change the operations and brining sanity, the Board has engaged a specialist to capture data that will help in farmer Registration and their specific locations.
He says that he is targeting to work with the government to ensure there is a conducive working environment for all entrepreneurs in the Tobacco industry.
Meanwhile, government says it expects all players in the industry to observe laid down procedures and avoid doing things outside the legal stipulation.
Acting Director in the Department of Agriculture Alick Daka also called on all farmers that have not remitted levies to do so through the Tobacco Board of Zambia.
Mr. Daka emphasized that children should not be used in the cultivation and farming of Tobacco despite the sector being profitable and a quick win cash crop in the agriculture sector.
He noted that research shows that in Zambia Tobacco is seven and half times more profitable per hectare than maize production and fourteen times more profitable than Cotton production.
Mr. Daka pointed out that Tobacco has great potential to contribute to the growth of the economy through employment and wealth creation.
Eastern Water and Sewerage Company plans to engage an external debt collection agency to recover the outstanding debt of about 10 million kwacha.
Company Acting Managing Director Aaron Mulinda says demand notices are currently being distributed to affected customers.
He says out of the 10 million kwacha, about 4 million kwacha is the amount owed by government while the rest of the amount is owed by individual customers.
He was speaking to journalists after a stakeholders meeting organized by the utility company in Chipata yesterday.
Mr. Mulinda says the outstanding amount had reduced after engaging bailiffs whose mandate expired, but that the debt is again going up.
The Ministry of Agriculture has assured farmers that it will cover up for those who did not have their cards activated in the 2017-2018 farming season.
This was disclosed by Agriculture Business and Marketing Director, Kezia Mbita Katyamba in an interview on the sidelines of a 2018 -2019 Farmer Input Support Program FISP sensitization meeting in Chipata this morning.
Mrs. Katyamba also disclosed that the ministry is working on a system that will enable farmers get the value of their support for previous 2017-2018 farming season.
The Director says this will be done using the data that was captured during the previous season to identify the affected farmers.
Caritas Chipata has condemned individuals involved in the misappropriation of the Social Cash Transfer Program.
Caritas Chipata Good Governance Programs Coordinator John Mthadziko Zulu says his organization is saddened over the misuse of funds meant for vulnerable people in the country.
The United Kingdom government has frozen its funding to Zambia following revelations that about 4.3 million US dollars meant for the Social Cash Transfer beneficiaries was misapplied.
Mr. Zulu says this is a very serious anomaly because people in Europe are trying to help poor Zambians.
He says citizens need a clear explanation on why the former Minister of Community Development and Social Services Emerine Kabanshi was fired.
Mr. Zulu says it is of public interest for people to understand why certain duty bearers are relieved of their duties, so that if it is in relation to embezzlement of funds, other ministers learn a leasson.
He has called for quick action over individuals involved in the misapplication of the funds meant for the vulnerable people in society.
Mr. Zulu says the situation is unfortunate because many vulnerable people who were beneficiaries of the program will starve with hunger.
Plot owners in Katete district have appealed to the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources to quicken processing of land offer letters.
ZANIS reports that Enock Banda, one of the plot owners says the slow process of working on offer letters has led to the construction of substandard buildings by some people.
Mr. Banda was speaking in Katete during a meeting that was aimed at informing residents on the project of grading township roads by the District Council.
And Samuel Chanda, another plot owner, said the delay is caused by the Council.
Mr. Chanda however, appreciated the efforts the Council is making in providing better services.
Meanwhile the Ubulayo Initiative has handed over 12 boreholes to communities in Katete district.
Ubulayo Founder, Tasila Lungu says the donation is aimed at enhancing access to clean and safe water in places that have water challenges.
Ms. Lungu was speaking during the official handover ceremony of the boreholes in Kanyatula Village in Chief Mban’gombe’s Chiefdom in Katete district.
Transparency International-Zambia TIZ says the country has continued to record high cases of corruption despite the formation of integrity committees in government departments.
TIZ monitoring and evaluation officer Tendai Nkhandu says government departments should ensure that the integrity committees are operational and contribute to a reduction in cases of bribery and other forms of corruption in the public service.
He was speaking at a Zambia Brib Payers Index ZBPI information sharing meeting in Chipata.
Mr. Nkhandu noted that Zambia’s corruption perception has continued to be bad and stressed the need to scale up efforts to fight graft.
He noted that most institutions have recorded an increase from 8.5 per cent in 2014 to 10 per cent in 2017, representing an increase of 1.5 percent.
And ACC Regional Manager Nkandu Chipinda underscored ZBPI in the fight against corruption as it provides an empirical measurement of incidences of bribery in government departments and the private sector.
Ms. Chipinda encouraged public institutions to use the findings of the ZBPI to fight graft.
Eastern Water and Sewerage Company Managing Director Lytone Kanowa’s contract has not been renewed.
Provincial Permanent Secretary Chanda Kasolo confirmed the development to ZANIS stating that Mr. Kanowa’s contract came to an end recently and has not been renewed.
Mr. Kasolo said Mr. Kanowa was offered another contract by government but it was withdrawn before being approved.
He could however not give reasons as to why the contract was not renewed or give more details because the matter was now before the courts of law.
Mr. Kasolo said he can only comment further once the matter is disposed off by the court.
A village headman in Chieftainess Mkanda’s area of Chipangali district has commended Government for reverting back to the conventional distribution of farming inputs.
Speaking to Breeze FM, Headman Mugamphula who is also chieftainess Mkanda’s Induna says the decision by government to go back to the old system will allow farmers access farming inputs early.
Headman Mugamphula adds that some farmers could not buy farming inputs in good time because their accounts were not activated.
The induna says many farmers in the chiefdom have welcomed the decision by government to get back to the old system of supplying government subsidized inputs.
He says some farmers up to now have not received their money through the e-voucher system.
Fifty pupils at Kasonjola Primary School in Chipangali district have become beneficiaries of a donation of school requirements.
The donation, which was made by an organization called Young Happy Health and Safe included pens, pencils, exercise books, school shoes and uniforms.
And the Ministry of Education in Chipangali district has thanked the organization for the donation, stating that it will go a long way in helping orphans and vulnerable children to stay in school.
Chipangali District Education Board Secretary Felistus Nkoloma however, cautioned guardians against grabbing the donated items from the vulnerable children to give to their kids.
Meanwhile Young Happy Health and Safe Chief Executive Director Zikhalo Phiri says his organization will continue providing support to various schools in Eastern Province
World Vision Zambia has flagged off the distribution of goats worth over 1.8 million Kwacha to vulnerable households in Nyimba and Katete districts.
World Vision, National Director, John Hasse says the project is meant to contribute to poverty reduction and improve the lives of most vulnerable households in the area.
Mr. Hasse stated that the goat pass-on project will allow many families and communities to benefit from the investment which will bring sustainable spiral effect of benefits to all households in rural areas.
And Eastern Province Permanent Secretary, Chanda Kasolo says the goat value chain development will promote the participation of small and medium enterprises in the growth of the economy.
The goat pass-on project which involves over 3,000 goats was flagged off at Luangwa Bridge Quarantine Centre in Nyimba district.