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Link Zambia 8000 on course – minister

KELVIN CHONGO, Lusaka
DEPUTY minister of Works and Supply Mutaba Mwali has told Parliament that the Link Zambia 8000 project is on course and moving according to the revised schedule.
And Deputy Speaker of the National Assembly Mkhondo Lungu yesterday ruled that Mazabuka central member of Parliament (MP) Gary Nkombo (UPND) was out of order for challenging the Speaker of National Assembly Patrick Matibini through a point of order.
Dr Mwali , however,  said the Link Zambia 8000 Project would need further revision owing to the current challenges in the economy.
He said this in response to a question by Chembe member of Parliament (MP) Mwansa Mbulakulima (MMD) who wanted to know whether the Link Zambia 8000 Project is on schedule and if not, what challenges are being faced.
“The major challenges being faced under the Link 8000 project include lack of adequate and timely release of funding, limited contractor capacity and decline in the value of Zambian Kwacha, which has led to increased project costs,” he said.
Dr Mwali also told the House that limited access to credit by Zambian contractors has resulted in delays in completion of projects under the Link Zambia 8000 project.
Meanwhile, Dr Mwali said the Chembe-Milenge road under the Link Zambia 8,000 project will commence in 2018 but that this may change.
Minister of Works and Supply Yamfwa Mukanga said that he comes from Luapula and that Mr Mbulakulima is not telling truth that roads in Luapula have not be considered for the Link Zambia 8000 project.
Mr Mukanga was responding to a supplementary question by Mr Mbulakulima that Luapula has not been considered in the Link Zambia 8000 Project.
In his ruling , Mr Lungu said it is the discretion of the Speaker  of the National Assembly to consider questions that should be treated as urgent or not.
Last week, Mr Nkombo submitted a point of order on a helicopter that crashed in Gwembe district on September 14, 2015 as an urgent question but the question was not considered as urgent.
Mr Lungu also said it is clear that in exercising this discretion,  the Speaker of the National Assembly is guided by factors such as whether the question is part the of business of the House or public interest.
He said the Speaker uses his powers to decide if the question is of importance.
Mr Lungu said in the case of Mr Nkombo’s case, he brought the question to the House 24 days after the incident happened.
“Considering the period that had elapsed and filing the question, it is apparent that the question did not qualify as a question of importance,” Mr Lungu said.


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