CABINET has approved the restructuring of University of Zambia (UNZA) into five colleges to improve efficiency and effectiveness in the operations of the institution.
Minister of Information and Broadcasting Services Kampamba Mulenga said the decision was arrived at during the13th Cabinet meeting held at State House on Monday.
Ms Mulenga said this during a press briefing where she was flanked by special assistant to the President for press and public relations Amos Chanda and her Health counterpart Chitalu Chilufya.
“UNZA has become inefficient in its management due to its current size which has resulted in operational problems, and this has in turn resulted in a huge debt burden, inadequate staff and infrastructure, perennial strikes by students and lecturers, and this has compromised the quality of education,” she said.
She said the five colleges which UNZA has been reconstituted into are medicine; education; agriculture and veterinary medicine; engineering, mines and minerals; and humanities and arts.
Ms Mulenga said during the same meeting, Cabinet approved the new financing strategy for financing public universities which, among other things, states that Government will liquidate all debts owed by three public institutions.
“The Minister of Higher Education Nkandu Luo will soon announce other university reforms approved by Cabinet,” she said.
Below is the full briefing
GOVERNMENT STATEMENT ON KEY DECISIONS MADE BY CABINET AT ITS 13TH CABINET MEETING HELD AT STATE HOUSE ON MONDAY, 14TH AUGUST, 2017
LUSAKA,(15th August 2017) – His Excellency the President, Mr. Edgar Chagwa Lungu called chaired a 10-hour long Cabinet Meeting on Monday, 14th August, 2017 starting at 09:35 am to 19:35pm. Cabinet discussed 14 agenda items and the following were, among others, the key decisions made:
1. Change of the Commemoration of the National Voluntary Counselling
and Testing (VCT) Day to Commemoration of the National HIV Testing Counselling and Treatment (HTCT) Day: Under this Item, Cabinet approved the change of the commemoration of the National Voluntary Counseling and Testing day which has been taking place on 30th June since 2006 to commemoration of the HIV Testing Counseling and Treatment day in line with the current global and national policy direction. The national event shall now be held each year on 15th August and commemorated countrywide.
The change from the VCT Day to HTCT Day directly supports the United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) 90-90-90 targets of ensuring that 90 percent of all people living with HIV know their HIV status, 90 percent of people with diagnosed HIV infection receive sustained combination antiretroviral treatment and 90 percent of all people receiving ART have viral suppression.
This strategy will lead to reduced HIV related illnesses (morbidity), deaths (mortality) and HIV transmission a move critical towards having an AIDS free generation.
Cabinet directed that the Ministry of Health should develop and implement a strategy aimed at sensitizing the general public on the new measure adopted by Government for the routine HIV Testing, Counseling and Treatment. Further to this, the President announced a the inaugural HTCT Day on August 15,2017, that HIV Testing, Counseling and Treatment, is now a matter of public policy. It must be emphasized here that there will be adherence to the medical confidentiality and attendant privacy available to every person.
2.?Restructuring of the University of Zambia (UNZA) into Colleges: Under this item, Cabinet approved the restructuring of the University of Zambia to be re-constituted into five (5) University Colleges, namely: College of Medicine, College of Education, College of Agriculture and Veterinary Medicine, College of Engineering, Mines and Minerals, and the College of Humanities and Arts. Government has decided to restructure the University of Zambia in order to improve efficiency and effectiveness in the operations of the institution. This action is provided for under the Higher Education Act No. 4 of 2013, Part III Section 13 (3). The University of Zambia has become inefficient in its management due to its current size. This has resulted in operational problems that have manifested in a huge debt burden, inadequate staff and infrastructure for teaching and learning as well as perennial strikes by lecturers and/or students, which have compromised the quality of education. In terms of the student population, the University of Zambia has 23,000 students, Copperbelt University, 12,041 and Mulungushi University, 4,830 students.
3. New Financing Strategy for Public Universities – Liquidation Debt and Measures to ensure Financial Sustainability in the Running of UNZA, CBU and Mulungushi University: Under this Item, Cabinet approved the new financing strategy for financing Public Universities which, among other things, Government will liquidate the statutory as well as personnel related debt owed by the three Public Universities. It is noted that the environment for higher education in Zambia has changed significantly. With the growth in the national population, the demand for higher education has continued to rise. The Honourable Minister of Higher Education will soon publish a full paper and issue a comprehensive announcement on the university reforms Cabinet approved.
4. Petroleum (Exploration and Production) (Amendment) Bill, 2017: Cabinet approved a Bill to amend the Petroleum (Exploration and Production) Act of 2008, in order to have legislation which will provide for increased investment in the sector that will contribute to national development. The Petroleum (Exploration and Production) Act of 2008 is inadequate leading to the under-exploration of the country’s petroleum potential. Launching Zambia’s first-ever major oil and gas exploration by the British firm, Tullow Oil Limited last week, President Lungu promised that Government would quickly amend the current law to allow for greater exploration work in the petroleum sector. The gaps in the current law include, among others, unclear mode for Government participation in the sector, lack of clarity of the fiscal regime, and absence of clear licensing system for blocks reserved for Government. These factors coupled with lack of institutional capacity have made the country uncompetitive to attract investments.
5. The proposed Bill, therefore, is expected to provide for:
(a) Development of a licensing system that clearly shows how Government will participate in exploration and production;
(b)?Development of a clear and robust fiscal regime that will be both attractive to investors and fair to Government; and
(c)?Enforcement of contractor obligations on existing licenses by requiring them to either fulfil those obligations or relinquish the blocks in accordance with the terms of the respective licenses.
6.?Petroleum Infrastructure Modernisation/Reforms: Under this Item, Cabinet approved the following:
(a) Engagement of an Independent Valuator and Consultant to assess the operations, assets, and structure of Indeni Refinery to determine the modernisation and optimisation upgrades and associated costs;
(b) Disposal of majority shareholding of Indeni Refinery based on the recommendations in (a) above to an equity partner; and
(c) Mobilisation of loan financing for the replacement of 911 km of 8-inch pipeline with a 12-inch Diameter pipeline.
Cabinet is of the view that participation by the private sector in the management of Indeni would facilitate increased supply of petroleum products in the country.
7. Electricity Sub-Sector Reforms: Under this Item, Cabinet decided that a Task Force be established to look at the operations of ZESCO and propose to Government the best way forward in improving the operations and management of the electricity utility company.
8. The Public Procurement (Repeal) Bill, 2017: Cabinet approved the introduction of a Bill in Parliament to repeal and replace the Public Procurement Act, No 12 of 2008.
9. This is aimed at enhancing mechanisms that will increase public procurement efficiency, transparency and accountability, as well as strengthen the regulation of public procurement in Zambia and also to incorporate international best practices in public procurement. The Bill is envisaged to be presented in Parliament during the next sitting, scheduled for September 2017. The Public Procurement Act, No.12 of 2008 is inadequate in dealing with many issues of public procurement. Therefore, it needs to be amended to provide for a more efficient, effective, transparent and accountable public procurement system. In addition, the amendment is necessary to address issues that are not provided for in the existing legislation such as high value procurements, assignment of procurement contracts and benchmarked prices for common user items.
10. Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing National Risk Assessment Report: Cabinet approved the Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing National Risk Assessment Report for Zambia. Government and other stakeholders will now be more targeted in the application of scarce resources in the fight against Money Laundering and Financing of Terrorism and other financial crimes by employing a Risk Based Approach to ensure that measures to prevent or mitigate money laundering and terrorist financing are commensurate with the risks identified.
11. The Rural Electrification Bill, 2017: Cabinet approved a Bill to amend the Rural Electrification Act, No. 20 of 2003 in order to strengthen the mandate of the Authority by addressing the identified gaps in the Authority’s engagement in income generating activities, conduct of affairs and activities, and protection of whistle blowers among other pertinent issues.
12.?The Employment Bill, 2017: Further, Cabinet approved the introduction of a Bill in Parliament to repeal and replace the Employment Act, Cap. 268; the Employment Act (Special Provisions), Cap. 270; the Employment of Young Persons and Children Act, Cap. 274 and the Minimum Wages and Conditions of Employment Act, Cap. 276 to revise and consolidate the currently fragmented pieces of legislation regulating aspects of individual labour law so as to provide an improved environment for the protection of the fundamental principles and rights at work, whilst promoting productive employment and economic growth. The law regulating employment and labour matters has not kept abreast with the emergence of modern forms of employment trends as a result of growth in the private sector as a major employer.
13. Industrial and Labour Relations (Amendment) Bill, 2017: In a related matter, Cabinet approved the introduction of a Bill in Parliament to amend the Industrial and Labour Relations Act, Cap. 269, so as to enhance freedom of association and the right to collective bargaining.
In winding up the Meeting, Cabinet also discussed the progress the Committee of Ministers which is chaired by Her Honour the Vice-President was making in the mobilisation of resources and construction of the markets. Cabinet was informed that as at 11th August 2017, K12, 821,000.00 had been pledged out of which K10, 436,500.00 has since been received.
Hon. Mulenga Kampamba
MINISTER OF INFORMATION AND BROADCASTING SERVICES
AND CHIEF GOVERNMENT SPOKESPERSON