GOVERNMENT is pursuing both economic and political re-engagements with international partners to normalise relations with key global economic giants to reverse years of isolation, Finance and Economic Development minister Patrick Chinamasa has said.
BY FIDELITY MHLANGA
Officiating at a breakfast meeting organised by Centre for Risk Analytics and Insurance Research, Chinamasa said the re-engagement process was top on the agenda in the new dispensation, to wean off the country from being a pariah State.
“We are going to re-engage in a very serious manner with international partners; not just economic engagement, but also
normalising political relations with those countries. We are trying to normalise relations with the European Union, the United States of America and the United Kingdom. We consider normalising relations with United Kingdom as key because our problems are bilateral,” he said.
“At least there is willingness on both sides to put on the table the issues that divided us over the past years.”
Chinamasa said government was intensifying the Lima process, with a view to clear the country’s debt and unlock fresh funding.
The Lima plan was agreed in 2015, with Zimbabwe promising to clear its $1,8 billion debt to the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank and the African Development Bank.
To date, Zimbabwe has cleared the IMF arrears.
He said the country would also re-engage the European Investment Bank and bilateral creditors.
To assist the political re-engagement, Chinamasa said there was commitment to protect land which falls under Bilateral Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement (Bippas), adding that government is expediting paying compensation to the affected farmers.
Zimbabwe seized land protected under Bippas under the land reform exercise.
Last year, Swiss ambassador to Zimbabwe and Malawi, Ruth Huber, told Chinamasa Zimbabwe has to resolve its dispute with Swiss farmers to attract investments.
Chinamasa said yesterday that land evaluation was complete in Mashonaland Central, West, Matabeleland North and South, with the next target being Manicaland and Masvingo.
He said the projected annual economic growth rate of 7% to 8% for the next 10 to 15 years was essential to place the country on a sound footing.
He bemoaned overreliance on mining and tobacco exports, adding there was need for the horticulture and manufacturing sectors production to boast forex earnings.
Chinamasa said he would gazette the Ziscosteel Debt Assumption Bill tomorrow to make the company attractive to the new investors, saying that the issue of the mining claims was now a standalone under the new structure.