Opinion

Just A Brief Clarification on the Role of ZPA Or Its Hired Consultants!

By Amb. Emmanuel Mwamba

The Privatisation Programme pursued since 1992 remains a conflicting process and spawns divisive intense debate.

It was a government flagship program but supervised by the International Monetary Fund(IMF).

Government was determined that the programme succeeded as debt cancellation, international Aid and, restructure and reform of the economy, was tied to the success of the programme.

The IMF hailed it as a model and successful programme in Africa, while many Zambians have realised and regarded it as done in a hasty and deeply flawed manner.

It has since been recognised that it was also a programme which allowed the corrupt acquisition or looting or cheaply selling of prized state assets.

But what is clear is that after the sale or liquidation or disposal of over 270 state owned enterprises, Zambia was left de-industrialised with an almost dead manufacturing sector, unpaid workers in many cases, and a shrunk formal employment sector.

Therefore we have to face the facts, if we do not look into this matter, one day our children will!

Back to the issue.

The Evaluator/Consultant or ZPA set the price and selected the preferred buyer.

To divorce and avoid political influence and political corruption from the process, the price and selection of preferred buyer were left to the Zambia Privatisation Agency or its hired consultants.

For each sale, ZPA management was assisted by an independent negotiating team whose appointment was approved by the members of the ZPA board.

This always comprised an independent chairman, a lawyer, at least two technical consultants from ZPA staff, and specialist consultants/advisers, as required.

The negotiating team liaised and bargained with each selected bidder and eventually hammered out a deal with the selected buyer.

Overall, the team was responsible for securing the best possible deal and for ensuring that agreement was reached on all issues of concern to the Government of Zambia.

These included making sure that the new owners honoured existing conditions of work and pledged to fulfil agreed investments in the business.

Was the use of independent negotiating teams ensured in each and every sale?

The use of consultants or independent negotiating teams was considered as a good way to avoid political interference in the sales and, by and large, negotiating teams or consultants were appointed in accordance with the Privatisation Act.

But it was noted in many evaluation processes as far back as 1998 that the independent consultants or independent negotiating team also acted dishonestly in some cases and also perpetrated private sector driven illegalities.

But both government and the IMF were focused on branding the programme as successful and making it a model, and despite the deep concerns, these matter were shelved or did not attract much attention or scrutiny.

The Exceptional Case of ZCCM

The ZCCM privatisation – by far the most important of Zambia’s parastatals – was one notable exception.

Negotiations over the sale were led initially by the international Merchant Bank, N.M. Rothschild until, at the
end of March 1997, Mr. Francis Kaunda was appointed by the President, rather than by the ZPA board, to head the ZCCM Privatisation Negotiating Team.

This decision was drawn up to ensure the process remained free from undue political influence.

What Happened After Consultant/Evaluation/Negotiating Team Finished Their Process?

Once each individual agreement had been finalised for the sale of the entity by the negotiating team or consultant, the process came back to the Members of the ZPA Board with the proposed price and selected bidder for approval.

The ZPA Board and the Attorney General would review the draft agreement reached.

The Privatisation Act specified that the Minister of Finance would sign the final Sales Agreement to transfer
shares to the selected bidder.

Conclusion

To respond to the current debate that the consultant/Evaluator/ or Negotiating team had no hand in determining the price or in picking successful bidder is not informed by law or by facts as they happened!

The Privatisation Debate is multifaceted. I will return with any other angle if need be.

10 Comments

  1. State council

    This story is there to gain political millage coz both consultant/ evaluaters zpa and the spearheaders benefited in the process

  2. JMS

    Very correct,we need such marvelous points because mare people in rural areas and some in urban have nothing to refuse but to take especially what these culprits are making. And if nawakwi was then minister of finance why did she sign the documents as narreted? Incredible.

  3. King cool

    It was a full cabinet meeting discussion, a minister has no power to sell any government owned company, this time around I don’t see no reason for pointing fingers to anyone, everyone was involved at that time

  4. BOZ_TimbaLife2020

    Problem with Emmanuel Mwamba is that despite being generally dull , he over estimates himself. You can not thrive on manipulation and thuggery for the rest of your LIFE. LIFE will catch up with you. SOON

  5. JMS

    BOZ and king hot or whatever, you are right but you are lucking something
    ” Mind” nomatter how dull a minister is its impossible to acuse a big person unless she has the backing,now if she has mislead why accepting and challenging the unchallengeable,and for you BOZ thanks you are now showing your manipulation/ thuggery you have used together with many of you supporting those thugs.

  6. JMS

    BOZ and king hot or whatever, you are right but you are lucking something
    ” Mind” nomatter how dull a minister is its impossible to acuse a big person unless she has the backing,now if she has mislead why accepting and challenging the unchallengeable,and for you BOZ thanks you are now showing your manipulation/ thuggery you have used together with many of you supporting those thugs. BOZ what is the difference between over estimating and speaking the truth? because I think you can’t clarify whether being confindent and over estimating. Please I know English has no master but we should think first before utering any word especially to well behaved people or VIPs.

  7. Frank talk

    At the moment HH should not talk about corruption. Continue educating us on matters of privatisation. No need of HH telling us that he will take pf Ministers to court before we take him to court. Bally will not bury this issue. He must explain to u

  8. Kalok

    We told you when you went on a wanton rampage of privatizing and liquidating kuti wina azakambila kusogolo. Too many souls were unjustifiably harmed in that process.

  9. Dominic

    Personally,I do not see why there is this hullabaloo which HH is regrettably unnecessarily creating around himself.The spotlight is on him purely because he is seeking a very high public office of this republic.
    Simply put,all HH HAS TO DO IS LOGICALLY ANSWER such questions as:-
    1.In the Privatization of Hotel Intercontinental,what
    considerations did his Evaluation Team take into
    account to prefer awarding the lowest bid of $6m against the highest bid of $25m.
    2.Did he declare his interest in the biding and
    temporarily vacated the Chairmanship of his team
    to allow a neutral person preside over the bidding.
    3.Did he become a shareholder of Sun Hotel before or
    many years after the submission of bids for the
    Hotel
    Surely there is no need for HH or his colleague Chief Mukuni apparently whom I know very well spanning our years back when we used to work together in Shell and BP Zambia Ltd to start threatening those asking for details on his Intercontinental Hotel Bid.

  10. True talk zambia

    people who dnt understand privatisation must not comment cz u are just making our lives difficult by reading ur senseless, pathetic and uneducated comments..am young and my vote goes to hh without an atom of doupt in me… Most assuredly my dear zambian youths wake up,the future is at hand and is yours to correct in 2021.. These politicians including nawakwi and lungu are old,weary and rich while the youth who comprise 75% of zambian languishing in poverty.. Make a stand

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