By CHILA NAMAIKO -
THE Government says it has sourced US$54 million from the African Development Bank (AfDB) to help farmers across the country invest in the aquaculture projects.
The project is to be launched by Finance Minister Felix Mutati next week.
Vice-President Inonge Wina told Parliament yesterday that Government was determined to ensure the agenda of diversifying from mining to fisheries and agriculture was realised.
Ms Wina said there was no reason the country should remain a net importer of fish when it had plenty of water bodies hence the need to empower more farmers with capital.
“This project will be launched next week and it is an opportunity for many farmers to access the funds to enhance the country’s agenda to diversify to fisheries and agriculture, “she said.
Ms Wina said this during Vice President’s question time in response to Patriotic Front (PF) Kaputa Member of Parliament (MP) Maxas Ngo’nga, who wanted to know the progress made to make the country a net exporter of fish.
The Vice President dismissed claims of tension in the country and that UPND’s claims of non-adherence to the rule of law, lack of freedom and association were baseless because nobody denied the opposition party such.
She was responding to UPND Kabompo West MP Ambrose Lufuma, who claimed there was tension in the country and those with divergent political views were oppressed.
She also said it was naive for some politicians to claim that President Edgar Lungu refused to meet three church mother bodies’ request to seek audience with him at State House.
She explained that the church mother bodies sought to see President Lungu at a time he was committed with other visitors, but he was ready to dialogue with anybody.
This was in response to Chipili independent MP Jewis Chabi who sought an answer as to whether the church leaders were denied access to State House a few weeks ago.
The House also heard that the removal of the 10 percent levy on maize exports would help to make Zambian l grain more competitive on the regional market because many neighbouring countries recorded bumper harvests.
Ms Wina said the move would allow exporters to compete in selling maize in East Africa which was the new market since most countries in the SADC had recorded bumpers harvests.
She said that Government would be looking at exporting the excess 1.8 million tonnes of maize following the bumper harvest recorded this year.
This was in response to a question by Nakonde PF MP, Yizukanji Siwanzi who wanted to find out the impact of the removal of the 10 per cent tax.
In response to Sioma independent MP Mbololwa Subulwa, who wanted to know when the Presidential Marketeers’ Empowerment fund would be spread to other areas like Western province, Ms Wina said since it was a revolving fund and the resources would be expanded.