Wednesday, April 24, 2024

Chibamba questions hiring of Highgate as PR advisers on debt


Economist Chibamba Kanyama has raised questions over the recent decision by government to engage a UK based public relations firm to handle communications over the country’s debt for the next six months.

Government has hired Highgate Advisory Limited of the UK as the GRZ Communications advisor for the debt management process at a total cost of £333, 403.54 (US$452,897.36 or K9.7 million).

In a statement, Mr Kanyama said the decision to engage Highgate was not properly placed.

He however commended the Ministry of Finance for publicly communicating this undertaking as it helps to enhance transparency on debt matters.

“I urge government to continue with this stance. We should give no room to speculation if our desire is to improve public perceptions on the governance of the nation,” Mr Kanyama said.

“The contention I have about this decision is that it is not properly placed. Last year, we engaged Lazard to advise on the restructuring of the debt and bring Zambia to debt sustainability levels. Lazard also came with legal advisors. What I know is that any kind of restructuring goes with a communications strategy.”

He added, “I was team leader for the restructuring of ZSIC limited (spliting it into three entities). I worked with the consulting firm, First Mutual of Zimbabwe and the process took two years. The communications component was one of the seven key restructuring pillars (in other words, there was a communications strategy within the restructuring strategy).”

“What is debt restructuring without a communications strategy by those undertaking the assignment?”

He said, “I would have seriously thought the money being paid to Lazard included coming up with a communications strategy. This is not a presumption, we were told Lazard understood the expectations of stakeholders (including bondholders) and hence our engaging them.”

Mr Kanyama also questioned whether the decision to engage Highgate is not duplicating efforts by Lazard.

“Is this not duplication of efforts, paying more money for an exercise that should be undertaken by Lazard Lazard has no communications experts given the kind of work they do?”

“Was the communications component an oversight for us to fail to understand its importance when engaging a restructuring consultant? Given the meager resources before us as a country and the demand for prudence as stipulated in the Public Finance Management Act 2018, we need to demonstrate serious commitment to our own pronouncements.”

Mr Kanyama stressed that the Ministry of Finance should be ahead of all ministries in exercising frugality, due care and leadership with regards to public finance management.

“If we do not do this, even the newly launched Economic Revovery Programme will have little traction. I advise government to consult more and more locally on such intentions before engaging external consultants at huge cost.”

“There are certainly many Zambians willing to guide their own government on effective economic strategies at no cost. The debt problem is a battle for all of us and we want to see its back sooner than later.”


  1. Lazard and Highgate can put lipstick on a frog but the frog will never win a human being beauty contest. As long as Corruption is promoted by the PF Regime the financial status of Zambia will not change. The profligacy by the PF Govt is beyond repair. With the August 2021 Elections fast approaching money will be wasted on Election Campaigns and external debt service and repayment will be neglected. The PF mismanagement of the Economy is simply beyond redemption. A violent and disputed August 12, 2021 is a recipe 4 economic disaster. The writing is on the wall.

  2. PF has gone from their promise of “more money in your pocket” and now they’re on to “we’ve had no clue on economic matters”

  3. Value chain components vertical, horizontal or integrated calls for specialized actors. The debt is the matter of international consumption and would require that the Lazard outputs were processed and communicated by another independent firm. Allowing one firm to combine both is recipe for compromise and can impact on transparency. Perhaps talk about integration of independent firms on specific objective. You call that duplication? Chibamba stop reading anything in Google but focus on peer reviewed works.

  4. It’s like getting loan and hiring a
    Lawyer to advise you how to pay.
    It is an additional cost to your loan.just give the money for lawyer towards your loan.

  5. PF is suffering from Diareah and is busy soiling itself with feaces all over its body and is hiring Lazard and Highgate to spruce itself. Even with the strongest Air Freshener the PF Corruption Smell will not go away. They are just wasting precious and scarce foreign exchange in vain. What is needed in Zambia is a New Govt with fresh ideas to steer the Country forward. Alungu and PF have failed. It’s time to change!

  6. dull people hire other people to think for them, like we say..pathetic fooools party of dull people and a ka president with 0 IQ

  7. Limited liability companies in the UK are no longer registered under a royal charter and prerogative but under the companies registry. This is the practice in modern times. That’s why there are no chartered companies with limited liability such as the East India Company and the BSA Company. In modern times only charities and professional associations may obtain a royal charter. There’s no way that another company would hv been registered as Highgate Advisory Ltd if another company bearing that name or something close to it had been dissolved. They just don’t allow that because of possible confusion.

  8. First of all, Zambia is traditionally aligned to Britain so I don’t know how they settled for a French company to advise on debt reschedule. It’s also not tactically sound to engage multiple firms to handle the same undertaking. On that I agree with Chibamba. Unfortunately GRZ doesn’t consult local experts before a decision is made. Most civil servants that advise the Minister lack the necessary professional exposure. But Chibamba is also just reactive. Most of his opinions are shallow

  9. This guy will never say something minus putting in some thing personal, as if the there was any thing successful at ZSIC,”when I was team leader at ZSIC”

  10. Chibamba you are wasting time with this PF Govt. Everything that they do is for stealing.
    Ngandu and Yamba are doing this to steal money. The company they have hired doesn’t really exist! It was wound up some years ago. At the time when Zambia hired Lizard, Ngandu and Yamba lost out on a deal because they always wanted to work and steal with Highgate which was dead or had folded up then.
    As they were giving the contract to Lazard they were advising Highgate to reregister which they did.
    This is just the first series of mooted contracts for stealing money from Ministry of Finance by Bwalya Ngandu and Frederick Yamba and there are 2 more contracts already in track. They just can’t give them out at one go because the amount will be too big and raise browses. Highgate is just a shell with…

  11. Highgate is just a shell with no assets and one employee, Bwalya’s conduit for stealing.
    This is even worse than Honeybee. Bwafya Ngandu is stealing hard cash whereas Chilufya was stealing through contracts.
    Everyone in PF is issuing last minute contracts to steal. So shameful but people like Ngandu and Yamba have always been thieves and opposition is doing nothing over such clear cases of thieving in broad daylight.
    Over to you Zambians; do something, this is too much.

  12. Said it before PF regime is incapable of doing anything by themselves including what food to eat. How does a foreigner promote PF, a home grown party now detached with Zambians? Michael Chilufya Sata would turn in the grave to hear this rubbish.

  13. @Ayatollah , True Most civil servants that advise the Minister lack the necessary professional exposure. Why? Most of the proffesional experienced and skilled civil servants have been retired under the pf on public interest. Only cadres are now employed .Their job is to fulfil the “Uwamwibala alya mwibala” motto.
    Like what others have said, What we need is a new start. The mess has been done and it will be difficult for financial institutions to ever trust this corrupt and useless gang of thieves.

  14. Ba Kabika By giving his ZSIC experience Chibamba is merely pointing out that in any such venture communication is usually in the original expenditure why didn’t a government with that experience know this? Why hire external consultants after having hired lazard? He clearly says Lazard(not him) should have handled the communication component
    And what would

  15. Its necessary for market access and re-entry into global capital markets Market access sometimes is costly for a country like Zambia in defaults that needs that reentry again and continue to access Finances from both Sovereigns and Financial Markets global \without Marketing and Promotions to activate Zambia’s economic performance

  16. Its necessary for market access and re-entry into global capital markets Market access sometimes is costly for a country like Zambia in defaults that needs that reentry again and continue to access Finances from both Sovereigns and Financial Markets global \without Marketing and Promotions to activate Zambia’s economic performance in global market access that requires positioning and market intelligence It calls for known global advisory firms and companies

  17. The stupidity that characterises the corridors of power in Zambia stinks. Anyway, the Treasury chief is a sociologist, the Governor has only ACCA and has never seen the inside of a University. They are both at sea so no wonder things are at sea, Zambia kuunya!

  18. This guy was going to be a great analyzer if he removed fiction from his analysis, things like I know that guy personally from the IMF. Why doesn’t he remain professional. That aside his views in the article make a lot of sense and I agree with him, but he should not relate such a complex undertaking to the ever misfiring ZSIC

Comments are closed.

Read more

Local News

Discover more from Lusaka Times-Zambia's Leading Online News Site -

Subscribe now to keep reading and get access to the full archive.

Continue reading