VIOLET MENGO, Lusaka
MINISTER of Transport and Communications Kapembwa Simbao says Government has recorded a decrease in tourist arrivals, resulting in the Zambia Airport Corporation Limited (ZACL) recording a loss of K132,474 in 2014.
And Parliament has unanimously ratified the presidential appointment of commissioners of the Human Rights Commission (HRC).
Mr Simbao said ZACL gets most of its revenue from fees collected from travellers arriving through Kenneth Kaunda International Airport (KKIA).
â€œZACL has not been performing, very well because of poor arrivals, however, with the modernisation of the KKIA and promotion of tourism, it is expected that touristsâ€™ arrivals will improve,â€ Mr Simbao said.
The minister was responding to a question by MMD Chadiza MP Allan Mbewe, who wanted to know what the financial status of ZACL was as of December, 2014.
Mr Mbewe also wanted to know how much was owed to suppliers of goods and services in the same period and the amount of dividends the corporation declared from 2012 to 2014.
Mr Simbao said NAC made a profit of K9,306,348 before tax and loss of K132,747 after tax.
And on Thursday, Parliament ratified the appointment of Mudford Zachariah Mwandenga to serve as chairperson of the HRC and Kondwa Emily Sakala-Chibiya as deputy.
Other commissioners whose appointments were approved were Fred Wamundila Wailuya, Harrington Simui Akombwa and Ackson Mhlakeni Zulu.
The parliamentarians, in a notice of motion moved by Patriotic Front (PF) Mpika Central MP Mwansa Kapeya, were asked to carefully scrutinise and adopt the nominees.
Mr Kapeya said the nominees, once ratified, would protect and promote human rights of Zambians.
â€œThe Parliamentary Select Committee is convinced that the nominees will do a great job as they are endowed with the required knowledge and experience in human rights issues,â€ Mr Kapeya said.
He said the nomineesâ€™ curriculum vitae were carefully scrutinised and none of them had any criminal record and that all were of sober minds.
UPND Pemba MP Christine Mazoka seconded the motion and acknowledged that the track records of the nominees indicated that they were of high integrity and moral standing.
Mrs Mazoka said each of the nominees brings to the commission a particular experience required for such an undertaking and she was hopeful that they would be willing to serve the nation diligently with a calibre of impartiality.
Kalomo Central MP Request Muntanga (UPND) said the appointment of the commissioners was appropriate considering the frequency of human rights abuses many people experience.
Mr Muntanga was, however, uncomfortable that there was only one female among the five commissioners.
â€œWe policy-makers should be in the forefront of pushing for the promotion of gender equality so that we can reach the 50/50 gender parity as required by the Southern African Development Community gender protocol,â€ Mr Muntanga said.
Minister of Justice Ngosa Simbyakula commended the MPs for their contribution to the motion and support to the appointment process.
VIOLET MENGO, Lusaka