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Govt exhibiting incapacity in hiring Highgate Advisory as debt communication advisor – Kalala

JACK Kalala says government’s engagement of London based Highgate Advisory Limited as communications advisor for the debt management process, is exhibiting incapacity.

Kalala lamented that after incurring so much debt, the government was now not capable of managing the obligations on their own that they have to engage Highgate Advisory Limited.

“They need consultants to do it for them. This is exhibiting incapacity,” Kalala said.

Announcing the development, Secretary to the Treasury Fredson Yamba said as part of the government’s ongoing process aimed at restoring Zambia’s public debt sustainability, it became necessary to engage a specialised communication firm with experience in debt restructuring related communication to ensure effective communication with all creditors and stakeholders.

Yamba said it was an international best practice for countries restructuring their external debt to hire a legal advisor and communication advisor to assist in the restructuring process.

“The Government of the Republic of Zambia organised an international tender in line with the provisions of the public procurement Act; five international firms were invited to participate and three submitted their proposals. Highgate Advisory Limited was the best evaluated bidder during the evaluation process and was therefore engaged by the government for this assignment,” Yamba stated.

He said Highgate Advisory Limited had been engaged for six months at a cost of GBP333,403.54.

According to Yamba, Highgate Advisory Limited has assisted a number of countries in debt restructuring programmes.

He said as communication advisor to Zambia, Highgate Advisory Limited would work in collaboration with Zambia’s Financial and legal advisors, Lazard Freres and White and case LLP, respectively, to manage communications with respect to all aspects of the debt management process.

Yamba added that the aforesaid would be done in order to achieve, among other things, the promotion of transparency during the debt management process.

“Highgate Advisory Limited will work in collaboration with Zambia’s Financial and legal advisors, Lazard Freres and White and case LLP respectively to manage communications with respect to all aspects of the debt management process in order to achieve the following; facilitate timely dissemination of information about the debt management process to all domestic and international stakeholders, facilitate and support Zambia’s communication with all creditors including international bond holders, promote Zambia as an investment destination and foster international diplomatic support from bilateral partners.”

Further, Yamba said the two companies would work together to enhance communication of Zambia’s economic development with all stakeholders; and encourage support from both international and domestic stakeholders to the government’s debt management exercise.

He said the government was confident that the engagement of the communication advisor would add value to the ongoing debt management process and would facilitate the timely and transparent flow of information to its domestic and international stakeholders regarding the said process.

“Due to the nature of the debt restructuring exercise, it may be necessary to procure such specialised short-term advisory and consultancy services as and when required,” said Yamba.

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