By Dr. Cosmas Musumali
The hiring of Highgate Advisory Ltd by GRZ to advise on debt restructuring-related communication with all creditors and stakeholders is shameful, a waste of the taxpayers money and is symptomatic of our clueless PF government.
The Socialist Party had in May 2020 criticised the unnecessary USD 5 million hire of the French Company, Lazard Freres. This company was contracted to provide advisory services regarding liability management for Zambia’s debt portfolio. Our Party had consistently given GRZ free advice on debt restructuring. We warned of the immense hardships the masses of our people were going to face as well as the damage to the international reputation of our country if no urgent action was taken. In the typical arrogance and parasitic behaviour of the PF government, this advice fell on deaf ears.
The Socialist Party views the hiring of foreign companies for debt restructuring services as corrupt, wasteful and retrogressive. Senior Officers in the Ministry of Finance and the Bank of Zambia have over the past 10 years provided valuable options on how debt sustainability could be achieved. Several workshops have been held, study tours conducted, econometric models developed and a policy framework suggested.
However, all these efforts were thrown away and rubbished because the PF leadership did not want a systematic structure and process for debt management. Transparency and accountability was never a top priority. This is a government that thrives on chaos and disorganization. They deliberately created conditions under which debt contraction could allow high-level corruption.
Today, GBP 333,403.54 from the taxpayer is going to be spent senselessly on Highgate Advisory Ltd! This company is by all standards a briefcase one and whose owner has a questionable background. The picture emerging is that we have a cartel of former French graduates, who went through the corrupt, elitist Grande Ecole university system, worked in the finance and prime ministers offices, then went on to work for a number of dubious state actors that found themselves in a debt trap, such as in Greece and Ukraine.
In vulture-like style, this cartel has found out that corrupt, clueless governments whose economies are dying under a debt burden are the easiest victims. Such governments are ready to dish out millions of dollars to any “healer” who promises success without them being accountable to the citizens.
The Socialist Party calls upon all people with a heart for this country to strongly condemn this open theft and wasteful use of public resources.