LUSAKA, Feb 26 - Governement will soon present a Bill to Parliament to review the fisheries policy and strengthen it to develop the fishing industry in the country, Agriculture Minister Mundia Sikatana told Parliament yesterday.
The minister was responding to several concerns raised by backbenchers through a private member's motion moved in the House by Chiengi MP Katele Kalumba (MMD).
Mr Sikatana said Government was aware of the potential of the fisheries industry and attached great importance to its development.
"Government is ready with a Bill on fisheries and it shall be presented to this house soon because we recognise the contribution such an industry can make to the development of our country's economy," he said.
He also stressed that there was need for Government to create a partnership with the community to monitor and enforce the law on preserving the fisheries industry.
The minister said the fishing industry was actually another way of diversifying Zambia's economy because many people depended on the industry for their livelihood.
Dr Kalumba said there was need for Government to develop the policy on fisheries as the industry could contribute to the development of Zambia's economy if well nurtured.
He said it was a pity that the performance of the fisheries industry in the country had declined and hoped Government would act quickly to reverse the situation.
Mbabala MP Emmanuel Hachipuka (UPND) in seconding the motion said the Government had underplayed the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) contribution the industry could make to the country's economy.
Kalomo MP Request Muntanga (UPND) said it was saddening to note that Government of late paid a lip-service to the fishing industry and hoped the trend would be taken care of soon.
Chadiza MP Phillip Zulu (UNIP) said the fishing industry had the potential to contribute to the development of Zambia's economy.
Bahati MP Emmanuel Chungu (MMD) said it was a pity that all the governments from the UNIP era todate had done little to improve the industry.
He said the industry had so far not been placed at a ministry that could fully develop it as evidenced from the way it was moved from ministry to another before finally scrapping it off.
Mr Chungu said last year Government allocated K1 billion for the fisheries department but it was a pity that the funds had not been remitted to the industry.
Tourism Minister Patrick Kalifungwa said Government was in the process of developing a bio-diversity on water management on Lake Tanganyika with countries that shared the waters.
He said funds for the Lake Tanganyika commission were being awaited from some donors to manage the project.
Luapula MP Peter Machungwa (MMD) said there was need for Government to development the fisheries industry as the issue affected everyone.