The government has deliberated on and approved six (6) Bills for publication and introduction in Parliament in accordance with the government’s transformation agenda.
During the 24th Cabinet Meeting held at State House on 14th October 2022, Chief Government Spokesperson Chushi Kasanda cited that Cabinet has approved the Penal Code (Amendment) Bill, of 2022 for the publication and introduction in Parliament during the current sitting, and the objective of this Bill is to amend the Penal Code so as to replace the death penalty with life imprisonment and repeal the offence of defamation of the President.
Ms Kasanda explained that the Penal Code Act, Chapter 87 of the Laws of Zambia, was enacted in 1930 to establish a code of criminal law and penalties of criminal offences. However, from the time of its enactment, the Penal Code has never been reviewed and it contains archaic provisions including the death penalty and the offence of defamation of the President.
Ms Kasanda mentioned that another Bill that has been approved for publication and introduction in Parliament is the Criminal Procedure Code (Amendment) Bill, of 2022, stating that like the Penal Code (Amendment) Bill, the objectives of the Criminal Procedure Code (Amendment) Bill are to replace the penalty of death with life imprisonment and repeal the penalty for defamation of the President, as the Criminal Procedure Code Act, Chapter 88 of the Laws of Zambia, was enacted in 1933 to facilitate the application of the Penal Code, Chapter 87 of the Laws of Zambia, in matters relating to the procedure for criminal cases.
“Similarly, from the time of its enactment, the Criminal Procedure Code has never been reviewed and it also contains archaic provisions, including the death penalty and imprisonment for defamation of the President,” she stated
She added that Cabinet unanimously agreed that in accordance with the principles of the New Dawn Administration, the enactment of the two Bills will greatly promote the right to life as enshrined in the Constitution and that further, in amending the two laws, the Government will ensure that Zambia conforms to international best practice and standards on the right to life and other freedoms.
Ms Kasanda who also the Minister of Information and Media highlighted during the meeting that the Zambia Institute of Banking and Financial Services Bill of 2022, has also been approved, for publication and introduction by Cabinet in Parliament during the current sitting, and the objectives of this Bill are to continue the existence of the Zambia Institute of Banking and Financial Services and provide for its functions which are to provide for the registration of banking and financial services practitioners and regulate their practice and professional conduct and promote the banking and financial services profession.
“Cabinet has recognized that, currently, there is no specific law to regulate the conduct of practitioners in the banking and financial services profession, hence the need for such legislation in the country,” she said
The Minister cited that the Securities (Amendment) Bill of 2022 is another Bill approved by Cabinet, for publication and introduction in Parliament during the current sitting, and the objectives of this Bill, among others, are to implement a risk-based approach in the supervision and regulation of capital markets, revise the supervisory powers of the Commission, provide corrective measures to an under-capitalized capital markets operator, and provide for the appointment of an auditor by a licensed person and revise the powers of the Capital Markets Tribunal.
Ms Kasanda alluded that the Cabinet observes that it is necessary to amend the Securities Act No. 41 of 2016, so as to align it with the risk-based framework introduced under the Financial Intelligence Centre Act No. 46 of 2010.
“This will ensure that the Commission effectively and efficiently undertakes its supervisory mandate over capital markets, especially in combating money laundering and countering the financing of terrorism, proliferation financing, and any other serious offence, matters of which the Government has already expressed interest to deal with,” she explained
During the same meeting, Ms Kasanda said that the Constituency Development Fund (Amendment) Bill, 2022, was approved in principle by Cabinet for the introduction in Parliament, to repeal and replace the Constituency Development Fund Act No. 11 of 2018.
She added that the Cabinet has observed that the Constituency Development Fund Act, enacted in 2018, does not adequately provide for the manner of decentralization as envisaged by the Government.
“Further, there is need to strengthen the application, disbursement and management of the CDF,” she said
Additionally, Ms Kasanda said that the New Dawn Administration has prioritized decentralization as a major driver for attaining broad-based development, reducing poverty, and enhancing job creation through citizen engagement and participation at the local level.
She said that with the massive increase of the CDF, it is necessary that there is no impediment in the provision of services to the people and also ensure that development is delivered in the most-quicker manner, as the amendment of the existing law, therefore, will also facilitate increased absorption of the CDF country-wide.
Ms Kasanda disclosed that the National Pension Scheme (Amendment) Bill of 2022 has also been approved in principle by Cabinet for the introduction of a Bill in Parliament to amend the National Pension Scheme Act No. 40 of 1996 so as to provide members of the Scheme an option to access part of the contributions before retirement.
“The New Dawn Administration has made a policy pronouncement on the need for a partial access to pension contributions by members of the National Pension Scheme through The President’s inaugural address to Parliament, the UPND Manifesto (2021-2026), and the 2022 Budget Speech, combined, as some of the policy documents that have pronounced the introduction of partial pension benefits,” she explained
Ms Kasanda however, cited that the National Pension Scheme Act No. 40 of 1996, in its current form, does not allow for the implementation of the policy pronouncement on partial access to pension contributions by members of the National Pension Scheme. Therefore, to implement this policy pronouncement, it is necessary for the National Pension Scheme Act No. 40 of 1996 to be amended.
“Cabinet is convinced that this is a good policy decision as it will allow employees to start planning for their retirement early enough,” Ms Kasanda mentioned