FINANCE minister Tendai Biti has said Zimbabwe urgently needs an unconditional $4 billion stimulus package from the international community to boost the country’s stuttering economy.
Report by Nqobile Bhebhe
This comes at a time when the 2012 economic growth forecast has further been revised downwards to 4%.
Economic growth is projected at 4–5% in 2012, a revision from the initial projection of 9,4%, mainly as a result of the underperformance of agriculture and mining.
Biti last weeek told lawmakers and business leaders in Victoria Falls ahead of the presentation of the annual Budget for 2013 that a second Zimbabwe Conference on Reconstruction and Development (ZIMCORD) was long overdue.
He said the conference should have been held in 2009, but the country’s political climate was not conducive.
“We require fresh capital injection, in fact, if our politics was right in 2009, we should have convened the Zimbabwe Conference on Reconstruction and Development part 2,” Biti said.
“An unconditional stimulus package of $4 billion is what Zimbabwe needs. Imagine what we can do with at least $1 billion.
“In the absence of anyone giving us a stimulus package we have to be streetwise, craft polices that would attract foreign direct investment”.
Biti said it was disheartening to learn that in 2011, Zambia grossed $2,9 billion of FDI yet Zimbabwe got a mere $380 million, a modest rise from $166 million in 2010.
Soon after the attainment of independence in 1980, the government organised a ZIMCORD with the purpose to enable Zimbabwe to woo international agencies and governments to assist in the reconstruction of its infrastructure.
During the ZIMCORD in 1981, the United States pledged $225 million over a three-year period towards the government’s goals of post-war reconstruction, distribution and development of land, and the development of skilled manpower.
By the end of 1986, the United States had contributed $380 million, the majority in grants, with loans and loan guarantees.
However, in July 1986, the US government decided to discontinue future bilateral aid to Zimbabwe as a result of a pattern of uncivil and undiplomatic statements and actions by the government of Zimbabwe in the United Nations and elsewhere.