HomeNewsZimbabwe pays $180m to mend China relations

Zimbabwe pays $180m to mend China relations

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GOVERNMENT has so far paid $180 million to Chinese institutions to mend relations that had soured with the Asian nation over unpaid debts, a Cabinet minister has said.

VICTORIA MTOMBA
BUSINESS REPORTER

Finance and Economic Development minister Patrick Chinamasa yesterday told a breakfast meeting organised by a local daily that he visited China three times this year to mend relations.

He said the country has been borrowing funds from China but has not been paying or communicating with the country on the issue of the debts.

“As soon as we borrowed money we never went there to tell them what was happening,” he said.

“So when I went there, I was confronted with crimes of omission and commission so I made commitments to pay tokens.

“We have paid $180 million which was not in the budget just to make us look good.”

Chinamasa said during the first visit he was confronted with contingency liabilities that government had guaranteed the private sector.

He said the government had to pay the Ziscosteel debt and had to take over the Sino Cement debt through the Industrial Development Corporation.

Chinamasa said they also took the $80 million debt for Farmers World equipment which the government could not account for.

He said through the engagements that the country has made with China, government is now able to communicate with the Asian giant.

Chinamasa said Treasury has managed to pay $150 000 to International Monetary Fund and African Development Bank and the World Bank out of the $3 billion that the country owes the institutions.

He said the country was now in good standing with these creditors and in a few weeks the debt resolution strategy would be taken to Cabinet.
“It [the debt] remains an albatross on our neck. It hinders our access to new money,” he said.

Chinamasa refuted allegations that the country was set to receive $4 billion from China.

“We have never talked about a figure anywhere. Chinese do not give budgetary support, no country does that where they do, you will have surrendered yourself to them,” he said.

Chinamasa said the cost of doing business in this economy was high and unsustainable.

“The cost structure of this country is not sustainable don’t blame it on anybody unless you address it you will all go down. When things go bad don’t blame anyone but yourselves,” he said.

Chinamasa said the China Export & Credit Insurance Corporation (Sinosure) agreed to work on agreements with private players to access credit on state and non-state institutions in China.

“Sinosure people are going to visit us next week to complete the discussions. We have signed a framework to bring that about,” he said.

He said the government has signed six agreements for feasibility studies on the dualisation of Harare—Mutare, Mutare—Bulawayo and Harare—Chirundu among others.

Chinese ambassador to Zimbabwe Lin Lin said the visit was successful and important two Heads of State and they reached a consensus.

“The commitments are serious. We should work together to put interest of these two countries together,” he said.

Chinamasa said people should get rid of that mentality that money is easily accessible when officials visit outside to look for funding.

“We should get rid of that mentality that we go and just collect money at once you are business people you should not be like ordinary people,” he said.

Recently, President Robert Mugabe led a delegation to China where the Asian giant committed itself to fund viable infrastructure projects in Zimbabwe.

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