ZIMBABWE held several meetings at the International Monetary Fund (IMF)/World Bank spring meetings this month, in which the country clarified the extent of support by development partners and its economic reform strategy.
BY VICTORIA MTOMBA
IMF resident representative Christian Beddies said the meetings provided an opportunity for Zimbabwe to touch base with development partners and explained to them the country’s economic policies and arrears clearance strategy.
Zimbabwe owes IMF, World Bank and the African Development Bank a combined $1,8 billion and has promised to clear the debt by June 30, as the first step towards extinguishing the country’s nearly $10 billion total debt.
“The meetings were very positive. The authorities had several important meetings that provided an opportunity to clarify both the extent of the support by development partners and the authorities’ economic reform strategy,” he said.
“The strategy entails the clearing of arrears to the IMF, World Bank and AfDB through a combination of the country’s own resources, bridge financing from regional financial institutions, and a long-term loan from a bilateral creditor. The aim is to do this by end-2016. We welcome this decision and it does not need the approval of our Executive Board. ”
Beddies said the IMF board would express its views on the staff report on the Article IV Consultations — a report that is done annually for all countries. He said the board was likely to express their opinion on the authorities’ arrears clearance strategy, but “it is not the board’s role to approve or reject it”.
Finance minister Patrick Chinamasa on Friday told journalists that the IMF was impressed by the progress made by the country, but blamed the government for not being good communicators on what has been happening on the ground.
“We are quite optimistic of the report. Now, therefore, we begin the process of putting the arrears clearance strategy together,” he said.
The IMF board will have a meeting on May 2 and the issue of how Zimbabwe has met its targets and also the outcome of Article IV consultations will be raised.
The arrears clearance plan was presented to creditors during the IMF/World Bank annual meetings in the Peruvian capital, Lima last October.
If Zimbabwe manages to clear its arrears it would get fresh capital as well as benefit from medium-term plan that would run for three years.