Zambia imports between 4,626 and 16, 077 tonnes of fish annually from neighbouring countries such as Zimbabwe, Mozambique and Namibia.
Deputy Minister of Commerce, Trade and Industry Richard Taima has told parliament today that the total amount of fish importation annually from 2006 to 2011 has been fluctuating between 4,626 to 16, 077 tonnes.
Mr Taima stated that cumulative totals indicate that 10,846 tonnes was imported from Zimbabwe, 6196 tonnes from China, 6,073 tonnes from Namibia and 4,732 tonnes from Mozambique.
The Minister disclosed that in 2006 the country spend K22,254 million, in 2007 K30,607 million and in 2008 the country spent KR 16,609 while in 2009, 2010 and 2011, the country spent KR26,588 million, KR28,450 million and K156,749 million.
He added that the imported fish is from natural water bodies and also from the fish farms in both fresh and marine waters but noted that most of the fish comes from fish farms.
The Minister said government is not aware of the type of feed the fish is fed on and appealed to the members of the house and others to provide information for government to base on to institute investigations to find out if the imported fish has bad effects on human once consumed.
The Minister was responding to Senga Hills MP, Kapembwa Simbao, who wanted to know whether fish is currently being imported into the country for sale to the public and the type of fish and also the amount of fish imported into the country per year and from which country.
Mr Simbao also wanted to know whether the imported fish was from natural water bodies or from fish farms and how much money is being spent on the importation of fish each and if the members of the public are aware that they have been consuming imported fish.
On the concerns that the country could be importing fish that could have bad effects on human beings, the Acting Minister of Commerce, Trade and Industry, Emmanuel Chenda, assured the house that government would investigate.
And Speaker of the National Assembly, Patrick Matibini, has ordered the Minister of Finance, Alexander Chikwanda, to issue a Ministerial statement to the House on Tuesday next week on the continued depression of the Kwacha against foreign currencies, especially the dollar.
This followed the point of order raised by Monze MP, Jack Mwiimbu, who asked the speaker to rule whether it was in order for government to remain quiet when the Kwacha was depreciating against other currencies despite assurances when the house was debating the 2013 National Budget.