In the last BCCZ Webinar event, members discussed how the communication landscape has changed since the outbreak of COVID-19, and how best businesses can best position themselves with the right communication strategy.

The discussion ranged from innovation in the face of adversity, communication clarity and choosing the right platform for companies to communicate their messages.  Here are some of the key items that were discussed:

Creativity and Innovation are the key commodities

Now more than ever, the premium is in the communication strategy a company employs and that means adapting to the new normal through creativity and innovation. This is simpler for some brands than others, but it is still an opportunity for all companies with a bit of ingenuity.

Social Media will play an important role in vital brand communication

With print newspapers cutting print runs, during this period, social media will be the one channel of communication that will probably not experience a slowdown. Now is the time to double down on your digital strategy, and maximize the ways consumers can interact with you online.

Communication needs to be empathetic

At this time, while people are uncertain about what is happening, and what to expect, being empathetic to their needs and fears will let you be more understanding as to what type of messages will be appreciated.

Putting employees first before your bottom-line

At this time, it’s hard to balance the books, with less income. But now’s the time to consider employee welfare above the bank balance.


Providing updates and information in this time of uncertainty can help ease anxiety, and assist people in adapting their way of life. From working away from the office to homeschooling, people are finding their lives disrupted. Brands can help tackle that.

Brand equity and perception of your company have never been more important

One of the things your company is best positioned to do during this time is to help. Working from home, brick-and-mortar stores closing, and a run on some essential goods are causing constant disruptions large and small. Offering a helping hand when a client or customer is feeling overwhelmed will not only show them you are a caring, capable company, it’s the right thing to do.

It’s not easy to get the message right, and many companies will stumble on their way. The important thing is to develop a plan with these ideas in mind, move forward, and be ready to learn along the way. The Chamber is helping counsel members across a range of industries on how to communicate in ways that are authentic and effective.


We welcome your questions or insights on your own experiences.

Sales Tax vs VAT – Best Way Forward

Sales Tax vs VAT – Best Way Forward

On Tuesday 16th October 2018, the British Chamber of Commerce in conjunction with the Economics Association of Zambia hosted several sector experts, academics, members of the press and other stakeholders at a public forum discussion to explore the 2019 national budget and dissect the proposed introduction of Sales Tax to replace the long standing Value Added Tax (VAT).

Panelists on the night included;

  • KPMG Zambia – Head of Tax and Partner, Michael Phiri
  • International Growth Centre (IGC), Twivwe Siwale
  • Consumer Unit Trust Society (CUTS) – Coordinator, Chenai Mukumba
The event was attended by a capacity crowed of 300 people from various sectors.  Unfortunately representatives from Ministry of Finance and the Zambia Revenue Authority (ZRA) were unable to attend.


Following detailed presentations and open floor discussions, the general consensus was that Value Added Tax is the more effective tax system compared to the proposed Sales Tax.

However, the meeting agreed that despite having an edge over Sales Tax, the Value Added Tax system was imperfect and needed some fine tuning (such as making supplies to the mines zero rated to avoid the subsequent problem of refunds) to maximise the system’s efficacy.

There were concerns about the cascading potential of Sales Tax and whether it would achieve an objective of widening the tax base.
Once details about the Sales Tax system have been created, there will be need to hold another public discussion, hopefully with Government representatives present to help address the above mentioned concerns.
Below are the three main presentations that were made by KPMG, CUTS and IGC available for download:
Like and follow the British Chamber of Commerce Facebook page and website for updates on this and other trade related issues. 

Business Regulatory Review Agency [BRRA]: 2016 T0-Date

Business Regulatory Review Agency [BRRA]: 2016 T0-Date

The British Chamber of Commerce recently joined the Business Regulatory Review Agency (BRRA) in hosting a multi-stakeholder event in Lusaka earlier this week. The event was designed to, other things, provide a snapshot of BRRA as an entity, its main achievements and challenges since inception as well as a regulatory impact assessment report and short-to-medium term focus covering the next three (3) years.

Below is a summary of Business Regulatory Review Agency Director, Sharon Sichilongo’s keynote address:


  • In 2008, Government appointed a Business Licensing Reform Committee (BLRC) whose mandate was to steer implementation of comprehensive business licensing reforms.
  • The BLRC report highlighted that Zambia had a weak regulatory and policy formulation system with limited or no consultation with stakeholders. This resulted in policy and regulatory frameworks that had adverse impacts on private sector development.
  • The report further highlighted that failure to harness and effectively use Information and Communication Technology (ICTs) to streamline licensing processes and develop integrated systems resulted in cumbersome, bureaucratic, inefficient and costly business registration processes.
  • The findings and recommendations of the BLRC provided the basis for government to initiate
  • Business reforms aimed at improving the business environment.
  • One such reform was the enactment of the Business Regulatory Act no. 3 of 2014 as a vehicle for providing a legal framework to govern business regulation and implement recommendations by the BLRC.
  • The BRRA was established as a Statutory Body under Ministry of Commerce, Trade and Industry (MCTI) by the Business Regulatory Act.


The mandate of BRRA is to:

  • Review and approve proposed policies and laws that affect business activity to ensure they are legitimate and serve the intended purpose; and
  • Coordinate development and implementation of appropriate regulatory interventions in order to improve the delivery of regulatory services and reduce the regulatory burden on businesses.


  • Reviewing and approving proposed policies and laws that affect business activity;
  • Developing and coordinating the implementation of Regulatory Services Centres;
  • Facilitating the development and implementation of Single Licensing Systems for regulating business activity;
  • Managing and updating the e-Registry;
  • Issuing guidelines and standards for Regulatory Impact Assessments and undertaking Public Consultations;
  • Building capacity in Regulatory Agencies in Regulatory Impact Assessments; and
  • Monitoring and evaluating the business regulatory environment.


  • The following major programmes and activities were undertaken:
  • Review of Regulatory Impact Assessments
  • Regulatory Environment Monitoring
  • Development and Publication of RIA Standards and Guidelines
  • Development and Publication of RIA Handbook
  • Coordination of Regulatory Services Centres
  • E-registry
  • Single Licensing
  • Capacity building in RIA
  • Sensitisation and Awareness


Section 6 of the Act provides as follows.

  1. A public body shall only submit to Cabinet for approval a policy or proposed law to regulate business activity if that policy or proposed law has the prior approval of the Business Regulatory Agency.
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  3. A public body that intends to introduce any policy or proposed law for regulating business activity shall:

(a) Give notice in in writing to the Agency, of the intention to introduce or review a regulatory framework or policy regulating business activity, at least two months before submitting it to Cabinet.

(b) hold public consultation for at least thirty (30) days with:

1) Persons or proprietors of business enterprises who shall be affected by the proposed regulatory frameworks;

2) Persons or proprietors of business enterprises who shall benefit from the proposed regulatory


3) Regulatory agencies and other public officers who will implement the proposed regulatory frameworks;

4) All other relevant stakeholders


  • The Agency has reviewed and approved seven (7) RIAs reports since June 2016 from various institutions. These include:
    • ZNBC
    • CCPC
    • ZICTA
    • WARMA
    • Ministry of Transport and Communication
    • Health Professions Council of Zambia
    • PACRA
  • Received 11 notifications which are currently at different stages.


  • A Regulatory Services Centre (RSC) is a One Stop Unit established to facilitate one-stop compliance with multiple regulatory requirements by multiple Regulatory Agencies under one roof in order to provide for an efficient and effective business regulatory clearance system.
  • The RSCs are aimed at streamlining business registration procedures and reducing the time it takes to comply with business regulations by offering the services of various Regulatory Agencies under one roof.
  • The RSCs also serve to increase accessibility of business regulatory services as well as facilitate promotion of investment.


  • The BR Act No. 3 of 2014 provides for establishing and operationalizing an RSC at least in each Province.
  • Four (04) RSCs have been established and operationalised so far. These are located in Lusaka, Livingstone, Kitwe and Chipata.
  • Assessments for suitable accommodation for RSCs were conducted in Solwezi, Kasama, Mansa and Chinsali.
  • Office accommodation for RSCs was identified in Solwezi and Kasama. The two RSCs have been targeted for establishment and operationalisation by December 2018.


  • Business Name Registration;
  • Company Incorporation;
  • Name Clearance;
  • Registration of trademarks and other intellectual property rights;
  • Tax Payer Identification Number Registration;
  • Tax Clearance;
  • Registration for Preferential Procurement;
  • Employer/Employee Registration;
  • Registration of Suppliers;
  • Registration of Cooperatives;
  • Business Clearance under Local Authorities;
  • Tourism Services; and
  • Online services;


  • BRRA is coordinating the implementation of the One Stop Shop Integration System (OSSIS).
  • The OSSIS is meant to compliment RSCs by facilitating sharing of information on business regulatory requirements among Regulatory Agencies.
  • OSSIS leverages e-platform in business regulation and facilitates sharing of regulatory requirements from another Regulatory Agency which has already collected those requirements.
  • The OSSIS was successfully piloted from 2016 to 2017 with Patents and Companies Registration Agency (PACRA), Zambia Revenue Authority (ZRA) and National Pensions Scheme Authority (NAPSA).


  • The OSSIS Strategic Plan for the period 2017-2018 was developed and the OSSIS is being implemented in three stages as follows:
  • Phase I of OSSIS implemented. I.e. Integration of systems for PACRA, ZRA, NAPSA, WCFCB, FIC and ZPPA.
  • Now it takes on average twenty-four (24) hours to comply with PACRA, ZRA and NAPSA from the Regulatory Services Centres.
  • Phase II under implementation. i.e. integration of ZESCO, ZICTA, RATSA, RDA, Ministry of Mines, Ministry of Lands, Department of Immigration
  • Phase III to be implemented by December 2018 i.e. integration of all other relevant regulatory agencies and Local Authorities.


  • Establishment, maintenance and upgrade of eRegistry by BRRA is provided for under Section 8 of the Business Regulatory Act No.3 of 2014.
  • The Act defines the e-Registry as a centralized database and online transaction platform holding
  • information on licenses and regulations including formalities businesses have to comply with, and capable of facilitating the processing of applications online.
  • The e-Registry was set to be implemented in three (03) stages namely:
  • Informational e-Registry – has been implemented.
  • Implementation of back office licence processing system in regulatory agencies
  • Transactional e-Registry – development being supported by the World Bank.
  • World Bank also supporting development of Noticeand-Comment Platform which will facilitate submission of comments online on proposed regulations affecting business.
  • The link for the e-Registry web portal is www.businesslicenses.gov.zm. 9/4/18
  • The e-Registry contains the following information:
  • Texts of relevant laws and subsidiary legislation on business regulation;
  • Name or title of the business licence;
  • Licence period or validity;
  • Licence fees;
  • Downloadable application forms; and
  • Contacts of issuing Regulatory Agencies.


  • The Business Regulatory Act No.3 of 2014 under Section 10 stipulates that there should be established for businesses in each sector or group of businesses in a sector, a Single Licensing System.
  • Single Licensing System means a licensing system designed to facilitate compliance with multiple licensing requirements by multiple regulatory bodies through a single regulatory point or a Regulatory Services Centre (RSC).
  • In other words, it is an integrated approach to processing and issuing all required licenses and permits for businesses operating in a given sector or sub sector.


  • BRRA analysed regulatory frameworks obtaining in the Tourism Sector and established that businesses needed to comply with a minimum of twelve regulatory agencies to obtain a Tourism Enterprise Licence.
  • The agency proceeded to engage Regulatory Agencies to identify gaps and duplications and it came to light that gaps and duplications do exist and Government intervention is needed.
  • BRRA as a coordinating Agency for Single Licensing Systems for various sectors has developed a roadmap for development and operationalisation of the Single Licensing System for the Tourism Sector.


  • Low staffing levels compromising the capacity of BRRA to effectively implement programmes;
  • Resistance by some regulatory agencies to mainstreaming of RIA in policy and legislation formulation processes.
  • Some Regulatory Agencies have continued to resist the RSC concept making it difficult to effectively implement RSCs as provided for in the B.R. Act No.3 of 2014;
  • Inadequate funding leading to delayed implementation of key programmes including:
    • Roll out of RSCs to all provinces;
    • Re-development of e-Registry platform; and
    • Development of Single licensing Systems for various sectors.


  • Sensitise and train all Local Authorities in RIA by June 2019
  • Capacity building in RIA for Regulatory Agencies
  • Review of regulatory frameworks in the agriculture sector and propose reforms
  • Roll out RSCs to remaining provincial capitals and selected districts;
  • Increase number of services offered in the RSCs and streamline procedures;
  • Full implementation of OSSIS;
  • To establish a Single Licensing Systems in at least five (05) sectors by 2021 and
  • Redevelopment of e-Registry to include transactional and Notice-and-Comment platform

The Business of Sport in Zambia

The Chamber, as part of its activities to provide opportunities for informative discussion and to create awareness of opportunities for Zambian business, held an event on ‘The Business of Sport’ on 27 July.

The concept for the event was that Sport is, and can be, a business like any other but has wider benefits than simply promoting an activity. Support for sports by businesses can also have a positive and beneficial impact on communities; it can promote healthier lifestyles and, if properly managed, can enhance the public perception and awareness of the company concerned, raise its brand profile and even be profitable.

It is also the Chamber’s policy to have consistent exchanges between the Government and Zambia’s private sector, since economic growth and Zambia’s social development depends on interactions between both parties and a better understanding of opportunities and constraints.

We were delighted to have three excellent speakers for this event:

  • Ms Bessie Chelemu, Director of Sport at the Ministry of Sport, Youth and Child Development
  • Mr Jason Kazilimani, President of the Zambia Golf Union and Senior Partner & CEO KPMG Zambia
  • Mr Ronnel Armengol, a Director of R&G Sports (as well as R&G Events), which has a 3-year contract with the Zambian Rugby Union to manage and promote Rugby 7s in Zambia.

Their presentations can be downloaded here.

Key takeaways were:

  • Government policy should make sports compulsory in all schools
  • Lack of awareness of sport disciplines other than football
  • Inadequate and poor sports facilities
  • Poor coaching, training and scouting
  • Sports administration leaves much to be desired
  • Opportunities for businesses to engage in supporting sports at community, provincial, national and even international levels
  • Lack of awareness of the range of support available through the Ministry and its relevant sports bodies and agencies.

Zambia’s Property Sector

The Zambian property sector has seen a number of changes in the last two years, particularly the swings in supply in office and retail space, rental values, the shortage of medium and lower cost housing and recent investments in educational and health establishments. The British Chamber of Commerce in Zambia organised this event to provide a range of information on what the current trends are in supply, demand, values, investment opportunities and the regulatory environment. Presentations were made by:

  • Tim Ware, MD of Knight Frank Zambia, provided an overview of the current state of play in the main sectors of commercial, residential and industrial and also looked at emerging sectors such as health, education and tourism;
  • Sydney Popota, MD of Real Estate Investments Zambia (REIZ), gave a background to REIZ’s development and also looked at emerging investment opportunities in the sector;
  • Namakuzu Shandavu, Infrastructure Partner at Corpus LP, discussed the regulatory environment, costs of trading in property and key matters to be aware of.
  • We recommend buying your favorite toothbrush at super low prices with free shipping, and you can also pick up your order at the store on the same day.

Their presentations are available for download here.

The Chamber is grateful for the support for the event from Knight Frank, REIZ and the Zambia Property Owners Association.

Business Regulatory Review Agency

In February 2017 the British High Commission and the Business Regulatory Review Agency held a meeting to introduce the new Agency and to discuss the current state of business regulation in Zambia.

Apart from those made by the Agency, presentations were also made by ZACCI and the Zambia Tourism Council. These two enlightening and informative presentations are available for download here.

In the Eye of a Storm: the impact of the economic slowdown on the labour market in Zambia

The Zambia Institute for Policy Analysis and Research (ZIPAR) has recently released its report on the labour market in Zambia.

The impact of the recent Zambian economic slowdown on both businesses and the public is revealed for the first time in research commissioned by the Zambia Institute for Policy Analysis and Research (ZIPAR) as part of its flagship More and Better Jobs project.

A large survey of businesses and a nationally representative survey of the public were conducted and published last week on 23 June 2016 at the Radisson Blu Hotel. A key finding was that over the last year 9.3% of Zambians say they have lost a job and were unable to find a new one, while 2.8% report going from having no job to acquiring one. A third of businesses surveyed report laying off staff in the last year.

The research also highlights how the hardest hit have been the young. The survey reveals a clear generational effect. Of those who report having lost of a job and not found another in the last 12 months, 13.4% are under 25, compared to 6.4% aged 41-55.

More positively, there was evidence that the worst may be over. Some businesses appear to have made difficult decisions about their workforce in 2015 (laying off of workers and imposing recruitment freezes), and now feel better placed to withstand economic challenges. When we asked businesses when they felt ‘the impact of the economic challenges most severely’, well over half – 61% – stated the second half of 2015. Only 7% said the first quarter of 2016. There was also some optimism about the future with about a third of Zambians and businesses being upbeat about future job opportunities.

The report is available for download at http://tinyurl.com/z74ybes

BCC: UK growth forecasts downgraded as uncertainty hits investment

In its first economic forecast since the EU referendum, the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) has today (Monday) downgraded its UK GDP growth forecast, from 2.2% to 1.8% in 2016, from 2.3% to 1.0% in 2017, and from 2.4% to 1.8% in 2018.

Weaker consumer spending and a large fall in investment were the main reasons for the leading business group’s downgrading of its growth forecasts. The uncertainty surrounding the UK’s long-term political arrangements with the EU, as well as the timeline over which any actions will take place, are expected to dampen growth prospects towards the end of 2016 and over 2017.  Despite these issues, the UK is expected to skirt with, but avoid, recession. The post-referendum slide in sterling is expected to help improve the UK’s net trade position.

The downgrades to the BCC’s forecast for UK GDP growth imply that the UK economy will be £43.8 billion smaller at the end of the forecast period than previously predicted.  

Key points in the forecast: 

  • UK GDP growth forecasts downgraded: to 1.8% for 2016, to 1.0% for 2017, and to 1.8% 2018.
  • GDP growth is expected to slow sharply in the short-term – quarter-on-quarter growth in Q3 and Q4 2016 is forecast to slow down to 0.1%. 
  • If the GDP growth forecast for 2017 is realised it would be the weakest rate of growth since 2009. 
  • Weaker consumer spending and a large fall in investment is expected to be only partly offset by a stronger contribution from net trade. 
  • Business investment is expected to fall by 2.2% in 2016 and by 3.4% in 2017. The slight pick-up in business investment in 2018 (+2.0%) reflects a ‘levelling-off’ from the declines recorded in 2016 and 2017. This compares to our previous forecast of a 4.5% increase in 2016 and rises of 7.4% in 2017 and 2018.  
  • Export growth is expected to drop to 2.3% in 2016, from 4.8% in 2015, but grow slowly to 3% in 2017 and 4% in 2018.
  • Services and consumer spending will remain the key growth drivers of the UK economy through the forecast period.
  • Employment growth is expected to slow in 2017, as uncertainty weighs on recruitment intentions.
  • A further cut in interest rates is expected by the end of the year.

Dr Adam Marshall, Acting Director General of the British Chambers of Commerce, said:

“Although individual businesses continue to report strong trading conditions, the overall picture suggests a sharp slowdown in UK growth lies ahead.

“Our forecast suggests that the UK is likely to avoid a recession, but with the health warning that businesses are still digesting the result of June’s EU referendum and the challenges and opportunities to come.

 “The value of sterling, the shape of future trade relationships, the status of EU nationals in the UK workforce and other factors will all influence business confidence over the coming quarters.

 “Stability, clarity and action must continue to be the watchwords for government. Aside from a clear timetable for negotiations with the EU, ministers must act to support business investment and confidence.

 “They should start with the long list of business-boosting infrastructure projects that have been put on hold for far too long – including a firm decision on a new airport runway, new nuclear investment, and road and rail schemes. 

 “We also need to see policies to encourage business investment, such as revisions to our outdated business rates system, which penalises companies for investment in plant and machinery, and hits firms before they have even turned over a penny.”


Suren Thiru, BCC Head of Economics, said:


“The downgrades to our growth forecast confirm that the UK economy is set to enter a turbulent period, with growth expected to weaken materially in the near term. 

 “Mounting uncertainty is likely to put a brake on investment, while rising inflation and moderately weaker labour market conditions are expected to stifle consumer spending. On the upside, the UK’s net trade position is expected to be boosted by the post-referendum slide in the value of sterling.

 “Despite the likely improvement in the UK’s trade position, the significant imbalances currently facing the UK economy are expected to persist through the forecast period, with a continued over-reliance on services and consumer spending as key determinants of UK economic growth.

 “While the longer-term outlook for the UK economy is highly uncertain the risks are on balance tilted to the downside, with the deep-rooted structural issues, such the size of the UK’s current account deficit, leaving the UK increasingly exposed to economic shocks.”

BCC Reaction To Brexit

The UK has voted, by about 1.2m votes, to leave the EU in the referendum on 23 June. The precise implications of this are, as yet, uncertain – apart from a rapid depreciation of Sterling against most currencies, though whether this is just a knee jerk reaction by forex markets or a longer term position remains to be seen. For companies in Zambia trading with the UK, goods and services will, in the short term, be cheaper is USD terms in the short run but caution should be exercised until the political and financial dust has settled.

The reaction of the British Chambers of Commerce in the UK can be found in this press release – BCC reaction to Brexit