Minister of Information and Media Chushi Kasanda has announced that Cabinet has approved “The Public Debt Management Bill, 2022,” that would compel the Executive Organ of Government to no longer obtain loans without the approval by Parliament.
In a statement released to the media yesterday outling a number of bills slated for tabling in Parliament which were approved at the 13th Cabinet Meeting in the Year 2022, held on Thursday, 30th June, Mrs Kasanda said that cabinet indicated that the New Dawn Administration believes in running an open Government where checks and balances in a democratic dispensation should be allowed in the overall governance of the country.
Ms Kasanasa further said that cabinet feels that the current debt burden, the country is struggling with, should have been avoided if Parliament was allowed to preside over the acquisition of the many loans the Government is owing to pay to its lenders.
The Minister said that the objectives of the Bill also include the establishment of the sinking funds and the repeal of the Loans and Guarantees (Authorisation) Act, 1969 and the General Loan and Stock Act, 1931 and that this Bill is important because it addresses the inherent weaknesses in the legal framework on Public debt management and complies with the provisions of the Constitution.
“It is in the interest of the New Administration, therefore, that as Parliament will be sitting in September, to deliberate on the second National Budget for the UPND Government, this law will be in place so that the 2023 Budget is premised on this important law, ” the statement read.
Other bills approved included the Road Traffic (Amendment) Bill, the Tobacco Bill, the Zambia Institute of Public Relations and Communication Bill, the Children’s Code, the Penal Code (Amendment) Bill, 2022 and the Probation of Offenders (Amendment) Bill.
The Road Traffic (Amendment) Bill, 2022 aims to amend the Road Traffic Act, 2002, in order to among others, revise the penalties under the Act for driving offences; revise the provisions relating to registration of a motor vehicle and trailer; revise the provisions relating to licensing of motor vehicles and drivers.Once enacted, the legislation will not only result in the efficient and effective operation of the Road Transport and Safety Agency, but will also enhance road safety in the country.
The Public Roads (Amendment) Bill, 2022 seeks to amend the Public Roads Act, 2002, in order to revise the composition of the Board of the Road Development Agency and re-define its functions and, of paramount importance, to provide for the protection of execution of judgements against the property of the Agency. It is expected that, once enacted, the legislation will improve the efficiency of the operations of the RDA Board, reduce the cost of running RDA and further, align the operations of the Board with the tenets of good corporate governance.
The Tobacco Bill, 2022 aims to provide for among others, the regulation and monitoring of the production, marketing, and packing of tobacco in the country. The Bill further, provides for the regulation of the import of tobacco in the country; continues the existence of the Tobacco Board of Zambia and re-define its functions and re-constitute the composition of the Board.
The Zambia Institute of Public Relations and Communication Bill, 2022 is for the continuation of the existence of the Zambia Public Relations Association and re-name it as Zambia Institute of Public Relations and Communication and re-define its functions; provide for the registration of public relations and communication professionals; regulate public relations and communication professionals conduct; constitute the Council of the Institute and provide for its functions.
The Children’s Code Bill, 2022 is aimed at reforming and consolidating the law relating to children, provide for parental responsibility, custody, maintenance, guardianship, and foster care, adoption, and protection of children. The Bill further aims to provide for the grant of legal aid to, and establish procedures for, the treatment and protection of children in conflict with the law, provide for the development of treatment programmes, including early intervention services and programmes to combat crime with regard to the general lives of the children.This is an important Bill because the current legal framework relating to children is fragmented and set out in different pieces of legislation, such as matters relating to children in conflict with the law contained in the Juveniles Act; the adoption of children contained in the Adoption Act; and the affiliation and maintenance of children contained in the Affiliation and Maintenance of Children Act. Additionally, these laws have varying definitions as to who can be considered to be a child.
The Penal Code (Amendment) Bill, 2022, as a consequential Bill to the Children’s Code Bill, “The Penal Code (Amendment) Bill, 2022.” is aimed at ensuring that in is in line with the Children’s Code Bill to avoid conflict of the laws. Specifically, this Bill calls for the revision of the age of criminal responsibility of a child.
The Probation of Offenders (Amendment) Bill, 2022, also a consequential Bill to the Children’s Code Bill, 2022, aims to amend the Probation of Offenders Act so as to revise the provisions relating to the probation of children in conflict with the law and provide for matters connected with, or incidental to, the foregoing.
In winding up business for the day, Cabinet deliberated on the Census preparatory activities that have since been carried out. This is following the issuance of the Statutory Instrument No. 92 of 2021 dated 31st December, 2021 and in line with the Statistics Act, No. 13 of 2018, which requires that a Census of Population and Housing be undertaken every 10 years.
So far the activities undertaken, include the mapping and listing of all Census structures and households, development and pre-testing of questionnaires and manuals, undertaking a pilot National census and preparing for logistical materials required for the Census. Cabinet decided that as part of part-time creation of employment among the youth, the Guidelines developed should facilitate the recruitment of youths who are currently not in school, college, university, or employed but available to work as Census officials which is planned to commence on 18th August, 2022.