Rupiah Banda could save money by trimming Ministerial Positions

President Banda talks to All People's Congress party president Kenneth ngondo
President Banda talks to All People's Congress party president Kenneth Ngondo

By Henry Kyambalesa:
The recent massive reshuffles of Permanent Secretaries and government Ministers are a clear indication of President Rupiah Banda’s utmost insensitivity to the expectations of the Zambian people. Instead of trimming his government to make it smaller and more efficient, he seems to be more obsessed with lining up the pockets of his friends, political supporters and sympathizers.

It is both irresponsible and inexcusable for Banda to continue to maintain sinecures at public expense while the country drifts further into socio-economic decay and backwardness. In fact, his failure to abolish the positions of Deputy Minister and District Commissioner, and to reduce the size of his Cabinet, defies his own sentiments and the sentiments of the late President Levy Mwanawasa.

In his speech in June 2009, for example, he decried the fact 50% of government’s domestic revenues are spent on 1% of the population, including Ministers, and wondered how provision for roads, hospitals, schools, energy, and defence and security could be met. The late Mwanawasa, too, expressed his misgivings about the bloated government when he revealed that 65% of the national budget was devoted to the sustenance of a bloated state apparatus, and that only a paltry 35% was left for education, agriculture, healthcare, roads and bridges, and so forth.

There is a need to reduce the size of the government to a smaller number of Cabinet portfolios, such as the following: (a) Education, Training and Sport; (b) Public Health and Sanitation; (c) Agriculture and Food Security; (d) Finance and Revenue; (e) Commerce and Industry; (f) Defence and Security; (g) Works, Supply and Transport; (h) Culture and Community Services; (i) Justice, Prisons and Immigration; and (j) Foreign Affairs.

Government functions which cannot be accommodated by these ministries can be delegated to executive government agencies. The savings to be made per year in this regard are enormous, as calculated below using data mainly from the Ministerial and Parliamentary Offices (Emoluments) (Amendment) Act No. 18 of 2008.

1) Permanent Secretary: K102,866,638 Salary

2) Cabinet Minister:

K75,117,124 Salary

K26,382,673 Special allowance

K26,680,000 Utility allowance



3) Deputy Minister:

K70,953,196 Salary

K24,107,904 Special allowance

K 26,680,000 Utility allowance



By reducing the number of Cabinet Ministers, Deputy Ministers and Permanent Secretaries for the current 23 government Ministries to 10 Ministries, Zambia would make the following savings:

13 Ministers x K128,179,797 = K1,666,337,361

43 Deputy Ministers x K121,741,090 = K5,194,866,870

13 Permanent Secretaries x K102,866,638 = K1,337,266,294

Total Savings: K8,198,470,525

These savings plus savings from the abolition of the positions of 72 District Commissioners and savings from allocations of automobiles and other assets for affected government officials are enormous.

A radical and fundamental reduction in the size of the national government is the only viable means by which Zambia can ultimately pay off the national debt, reduce taxes and interest rates to stimulate the economy and job creation, and provide adequately for the needs of education, public health, agriculture, public infrastructure, civil servants, civil service retirees, and so forth.


  1. vote

    Its typical of Africans. Relatives, friends etc must be looked after at the expence of rest of the population. Surely certain ministries can be merged and just split them PS level basing on specialization

  2. vote

    Very good suggestion, unfortunately such a suggestion will be vigorously fought against by the very pipo affected ie ministers their deputies and DC’s and the our current president, due to his unpopularity with the masses, will listen to advice from them because Bonse Emobalila!

  3. vote

    Last week I posed a question on the number of cabinet minters and their deputies we have in Zambia. One KGB agent rightly told me that they are so numerous that even RB does not know all of them. It’s a mockery that a big chunk of our tax payers money goes to pay a bloated ineffective cabinet

  4. vote

    These people may have acquired degrees in Economics and the like, but they are NO MATH MAJORS. So to get them to think in terms of Additions & Subtractions is almost like torture to them.

    The more “YES BWANAs” they can surround themselves with, the more they think they are in charge. Rarely do they think their political mandate is to the masses and not their relatives or friends.

    What a missed opportunity for these leaders to go down in history as people who put Zambia & Africa on a course different from what has been the usual out of this continent— corruption, mediocrity, poverty, etc. But no! it is the same old and depressing African way of doing things—very myopic like they are village chiefs. Even village chiefs have a limit to how many INDUNA’S they can have!!!

  5. vote

    We must learn to appreciate people not ukulabosafye ngembwa.the number of ministers is ok.Mr Banda you are the MAN Mutwalilile ukubonbesha ,create even more ministries pakuti tulelya bwino fwebaba connected kubuteko.EPO NAPELA

  6. vote

    No vision and no strategy. People are appointed to positions with no criteria or merits as long as they are friends or relatives. Why do you have the university of Zambia to educate the people. So this is the time to recruit fresh educated people not recircles politians who have served four presidents. The diplomats abroad, should also be cut down eg the tourism office in uk and us or europe does not generate any funds. the job can be done by embassy information department. Deputy minister positions are a waste of money and space. Change has to come in the country. Ah ah new government

  7. vote

    A good example is ministry of agriculture and ministry of live stock. Surely One minister can handle this. Provincial ministers and as well as the position of DA should be abolished. Permanent Secretaries and as well as Town Clerks can handle these responsibilities

  8. vote

    On a differnt topic. Nga fweniko please. Why does Shikapwasha want the media to come with some regulatory policy? With or without it a Journalist who publishes material that is deamed as criminal etc such a reporter must be treated the same way a criminal is treated. You dont need extra laws as what we have is enough. The aim is to silence the Post. If they(GRZ) have failed to convict the Post with current laws, this simply means that the Post is able to sustantiate what ever they have said about one Rupiah and his men.

  9. vote

    Namba 9 and 13, mwe bantu ushe kuli ministry of livestock pa zed. Its shame to see the president even complain that the country has no ndalama when he is bizy givit to friends and relatives he appoints, Remember BANNNEE District commissioner were brought back by FTJ and Levy promised to cut them but he never WHY coz they streangthen MMD at district level so NO WAY CAN BA Banda even think of cutting it

  10. vote

    LT you keep preaching to the converted – this article is a repeat of another with a different title. That said ABASH MMD and its lack of economic strategy and analysis. Paul kagame for president

  11. vote

    It’s pay back time for Bwezani,he promised a lot of cadres jobs during the campeign so where will pipo like bo Aka, Nevers Mumba and others go ?

  12. vote

    So we save K8.2 biilion per annum?? this is paenuts actually (just 10kms of tarred road), lets not grab at straws guys. There is not much to be saved from Ministers salaries as they earn far less compared to fellow CEOs and senior managers in the private sector

  13. vote

    But RB found the positions of deputy minister and district commissioners. He promised the people of zambia to follow the legacy of LPM. why should he abolish the positions that levy whose legacy he is following established? The fact that kiambalesa is attributing the creation of these positions to rupiah bwezani banda is evidence enough that he doesnt know what he is talking about.

  14. vote

    #18 Muka, that 8.2 billion you are talking about will give not just road but also clinic/school somewhere. also for you own info, if we saved that for 10 years, how much money we will make at a 5% interest from our Zambian local banks. come on man, after 10 years that is a lot of money. you are the same guys whom they call back who become such a failures cause you think this is little money. By the way, in one year we can build 100km with this money just from you figures. Remember also, this money is milked from the zambian tax payer and you call it straw? my dad has worked for 30 years and believe me, he has not made it to 10% of that money in terms of his pension and yet some of your useless minister spend it in money.

  15. vote

    in money = in a month

    #19 Peter, sure there is and the minister is Bradford Machila unless they changed him during the reshuffle while Chituwo is the other Minister

  16. vote

    While people have been speaking against our bloated cabinet and the need to reduce it, the government found it prudent to even introduce another Ministry of Livestock!

  17. vote

    In line with # 7 Jalasi Daun’s comment, I was shocked to learn, during the reshuffle, that we had 2 deputy ministers in each ministry. I think we can do with a trimmed cabinet and less head count on PS positions too. It is the deep rooted mentality that is difficult to change; looks like no one is prepared to sacrifice for the good of the nation. Everyone seems to want to get maximum benefits from the little that the nation has. Until we change our mindset that a leader is like a servant, it will take us many generations to come out of this partly self-imposed poverty trap. Just like business organisations, we should be open to learning about how other nations have gotten it right. It is important to realise that every little saving we can make helps in the long run. Let’s be wise!!

  18. vote

    This will continue in as far as we continue with the same crop of politian, beside with the pact it can also be the same looking at members from both parties and I remember at one time UPND had side they will have 4 vice presidents. We seriously need a new crop of politian with a new thinking otherwise these we have its just a worst of time advising them.

  19. vote

    #24 3 Musketeer- You know here at home when one talks about development, it not development in the Western sense, it in how many relatives one has in government. These are the people who will defend the number of ministers even if it reaches a thousand. Take the ministries of Local Govn and Housing, Community Development- these have more or less to do with the community so why not just combine them. After all there are no houses in councils. Infact the ministry of works and supply handles housing for senior civil servants. It is political appeasement and has nothing to do with development.

  20. vote

    Never in my life here on earth, have i felt so ashamed to be called an Easterner! RB just does not have any clue about what is happening in this country. I can bet you he asks his economic advisor what day it is every morning. And to think that he prayed hard before appointing Kazonga as Local Govt. Minister! What a joke.
    Anyway, if there is anything that needs trimming right now, its himself!!

  21. vote

    These are views of the people. I am sure our listening president will take action after consultations. I have never seen such an intelligent and good president ever since I was born. The man is so wise and humble!

  22. vote

    #29, It would help you to be a “bootlicker” and not a “bootleaker”. Maybe, just maybe, you could see things my way!

  23. vote

    Did RB not find these cabinet positions when he came to pwer? How will the opposition trim the number of cabinet ministers and does reducing the number of cabinet ministers ensure efficiency? The picture painted of Zambia as sliding backwards economically is simply false. Is inflation not coming down? Are we not going to have economic growth this year? Other indicators show we are moving in the right direction for example the number of people being infected and dying from HIV/AIDS is falling. Maternal deaths are also falling down. Yes we have a lot to do and a long way to go but surely we should laud our achievements so as to build on them?

  24. vote

    # 27 Deja Vu, It is so disheartening when you hear, see and read about what is happening in our beloved Zambia in many respects. One wonders what the antidote is to all these problems. One thing we should not give up is putting our ideas accross; maybe someone some day will listen and stand up and be counted. Thanks Deja. Ba Moze, long time man; what have you been up to? I have not seen any comments from Umgazebo & Family; he still about? I have been asking LT to change my flag to reflect where I am, but, hey, they still are getting it wrong! Anyway, the contribution is what is important. Stay blessed. Later

  25. vote

    #33 3 Muskteer, Hi my friend. Yes indeed, i have been absent from LT for a while. Have been busy, and also at some point i become disillusiond with the site when some bloggers began posting unprintables here! As for the antidote, my opinion is that remedies are usually given to responsive patients. No point in giving advice to a wall, is there? Thats where the problem lies.

  26. vote

    Thanks Ba Moze. I have also been keeping my distance due to what you mentioned at # 34. I guess sometimes the level of contributions puts one off the blog. Still, we must soldier on in order to hopefully realise our dreams or at least our children’s dreams. It is a legacy that we have to fight for. I am sure some of the leaders do read what goes on in here and they pick some stuff from here. Good day my friend as I have to dash off. Adios!

  27. vote

    3 Musketeer, Ba Moze. Am happy that our people now understand how powerful their vote, it cannot be bought with a packet of PAMELA. Lets pray they with stand the pressure from hunger and vote wisely. Amen

  28. vote

    #35 Swee Thang, if you didnt know, Bootleaker is 56 years old. At that age and he has not learnt anything!!

    #37 Deja Vu, as for the power of the vote, yes, very important. What worries me is the “voting wisely” bit.

  29. vote

    Shikapwasha’s wry little smile seems to convey a sly message,’bamudala yazanda, kuya bebele,’ to which RB is not oblivious.

  30. vote

    This gentleman Henry Kyambalesa is at using the Queen’s language. Dont think RB or those around him can listen to your suggestion. You will have your fingers burnt. The so called cadres have invested so much in politics, others tuntemba tunagwa or simply going banrupt. You on TV or read what happened during the by elactions in Kasama and Solwezi. Some pipo left the comfort of their homes to support their respective political parties. Charity Banda was globbered whilst campaigning for Watson Lumba. Whilst the likes of you and me are busy blogging in the comfort of offices and homes. The cadres etc derserve those jobs coz their are ploitical stakeholders and have invested their time , resources and take personal risks. Eg. Pande left a beta job at BOZ to stand in Kasempa by election.

  31. vote

    #41 good observation, many not all ministers or civil servants are useless. Some of them have made sacrifices and should be commended, it doesnt mean they should showcase what they do. But i know a few MP’s like Pande you mention that use their personal funds and resources to develop their constituencies.

  32. vote

    Baice kanshi finshi mufwaya cant you just leave us alone.Just mind your business. If you cant beat us just join us.

  33. vote

    A lot of money could be saved not only by trimming ministerial positions but also by improving coordination between the different ministries.

  34. vote

    If 50% of national revenues were spent at the local government level, there would be a lot mor money going to services – education, healthcare, security, amenities, administration – instead of the money never making it out of the ministry. This is why only 35% of national revenues end up spent on governing.

  35. vote

    #21 you are wrong,the salaries are paid from the world bank to countries that are trying to emerge from deep economic malaise,like ours,how many zambians are tax payers?do we have a manufacturing industry?the Paliamentary emoluments are are not even debated,because they are provided for by donors,so i wonder who pays taxes in Zambia…

  36. vote

    Zambia has money, if they can afford those salaries and a brand new mercedes that cost one million Euros for Rupiah . They just need to tell us where they hide that money. RB says there is no money for a Convention two minutes after saying that, he is rolling around in Merc.

  37. vote


    It is the Zambian Worker who pays taxes in Zambia. Corporations are virtually exempt from paying taxes. In 2004, the GRZ collected $1,100 million in taxes, and received $600 million in donor aid. Also that year, western corporations exported 4,000 million in copper, cobalt and other raw materials from the country, pocketing $2400 million in profits, while paying only $6 million in taxes.

    That is the neoliberal economy – massive concentration of wealth at the top, and massive taking of wealth from the worker. That year, $300 million per spent by the GRZ on personal emoluments.

    The key to progress is 1) taxing the mines and 2) making government less top heavy and more service oriented, instead of administration oriented.

  38. vote

    Ilya Benz yaya sana. I don’t think we will let him retire with that car. Ba Sata must also enjoy using that car in 2011.

    There is nothing like scrap value for him to go away with it. We shall give him the same mercs he the previous Presidents have gone away with. A million Euro is too extreme. Even a Mayback would have been sufficient. This guy (or his son) has gone away with 600 euro on that car.

  39. vote

    and now they want 250 MPs, zambians must rise and fight that one. the problem with zedians too docile.

  40. vote

    Great stuff, but probably not practical. These jobs are meant to carry out two main objectives (1) Provide services (2) Buy political loyalty. That is the name of the game/.. So while we all cry for a reduced cabinet. Just consider why no President wants to trim cabinets size. He needs to keep numbers for his surport especially in parliament. These are not dull guys, they may be morally corrupt but they are smart and out to keep power. I can assure you that none of the major contestamts to the presidency would reduce the cabinet size. So henry can continue with his articles but to me they provide a naive view. Too idealistic

  41. vote

    You guys I thought those two ministers were deputy ministers??? I thought There was only minister, two deputies and 2 PSs. Have intercted wt the two PSs, and they are good at what they do. So he should just get rid of the 3 Ministers…

  42. vote

    #44 Nine Chale, what part of Germany are you in? I am coming over there on a business trip from the UK early next year. Let me know -we could catch up Zambian style, over a beer…

  43. vote

    How much will you save by reducing govt size. Let’s be serious and avoid politics.

    The best thing to do is to direct our energies at finding ways of benefiting more from our copper. If we can get even $500m more per year from those mines, it will go a long way in developing Zambia.

  44. vote

    Henry is too much into politicking and is void of any developmental idea.Do you have a political party bwana henry?Trimming the cabinet as a matter of fact is and will always be a pipe dream in Zed.Sata cant do that cos he himself was once a Minister without a ministry.HH has proposed a corporate style govt consisting of four vice presidents like collapsed wall street investment bank Lehman Brothers.

  45. vote

    With all that is said abiut RB, how unsuited as presido he is, it would be difficult to find a worse president than FJT. Zambia can not find a worse president, even if one was picked from the street. On that level RB is doing fine

  46. vote

    #46, Kabova says:
    “……#21 you are wrong, the salaries are paid from the World Bank…..”

    So what’s your point? Do you realize there is word ‘BANK’ in “World bank”, right? No bank dishes out free money to anybody, my friend!!! At some point, the loans going to come due and every Zambian citizen, even those that are not yet born, will be responsible for this debt and the accruing interest. Why in hell do you think Zambia still owes $7 billion, or also, external debt?

    I don’t see these foreign govts/institutions coming after former individual ministers who benefited from the loans (through salaries, according to you.) They are after Zambia that means you, me, and the toilet cleaner at Kamwala market, dummy!!!!!

  47. vote

    Positivist pa ZED,

    ” Great stuff, but probably not practical. These jobs are meant to carry out two main objectives (1) Provide services (2) Buy political loyalty. ”

    There would be a lot more jobs, if money was paid out to local councils directly. Local councils would be a lot more powerful, council leaders would have bigger budgets than MPs, budgets that would make the present constituency development funds look very poor.

    It isn’t just a matter of having a smaller cabinet, civil service, etc. It is a matter of how the government is structured, and what it does. With an emphasis on local government, there would be an emphasis on service delivery, instead of the present emphasis of administration by central government.

  48. vote

    What do all these ministers do? What a waste of money, and why is riding in such an expensive limo? I also heard that he had several aircraft or choppers in Kalabo. Why? This man is a disaster.

  49. vote

    MRK good point does that satisfy the goals of the political leaders . And I am not too sure that moving the activities to local govt will neccessarily improve effeciency. There is need to look at capacity to. It could actully lead to more people being put on the political pay roll

  50. vote

    The analysis by this failed Fulbright scholar, Kyambalesa, makes good academic and idealistic sense. However, practicality is another whole different issue altogether. Furthermore issues of power concentration in the hands of 10 individuals have not been addressed in this article.

  51. vote

    Yes downgrade certain ministries. Is it necessary to have Ministry of Gender? Gender issues can be incorporated in the social ministry.

  52. vote

    Mr. Henry Kyambalesa where are you writing from? You must be the one who was a lecturer at UNZANDO and then Copperbelty Unviversity. You abandoned us in our first year and left for the USA. I am sure you are still in the USA. It’s of no use if brilliant people like you only write and are never around to to push for the implementation of what you write about. The country is what it is because you guys have left the country for “greener pastures”. So Mr. HK lets have you back in Zambia if you are a patriotic Zambian.

  53. vote

    It does not take a Phd Zambia has a huge civil service which is a waste of tax payers money.The proposal you have given is overdue and it take real leadership to take these bold steps.Zambia does not have the leadership hence these recommendation will go to file 13 .

  54. vote

    Bane lets be serious. There is so much work and we need all the man power. Isnt this part of job creation? The PACT if it ever governs would NOT be able to have a leaner government. There will be too many people to payback. I dont agree that trimming number of ministers will help save money. this will only create another problem in the ministries. Can somebody direct me to a comparative study of all the government ministries in the world- so we can know if indeed Zambia’s is bloated.

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