By Phyllis Mbanje
ZIMBABWE should brace for another extended round of shortages of ARVS for mostly second line treatment after the National Aids Council (NAC) said it was facing foreign currency challenges to settle a US$6,9 million owed to suppliers.
Appearing before the HIV and Aids and Portfolio Committee to give oral evidence following a petition by the Zimbabwe Aids Network, which urged government to release the money and show commitment to the Global Fund, NAC acting chief executive officer Albert Manenji said the debt was proving to be a challenge to the council.
“The Ministry of Finance has addressed us and pledged to pay the
$6,9 million at a rate of 1:1. So following that pledge, NAC then went to the Health ministry to check on the commitment and an amount of $2,5 million was allocated in July. But instead of getting at 1:1, we were told we would get it at the interbank rate,” he said.
Manenji said at the time, the rate was around 8,8, which meant that the
$2,5 million allocated in July, they would need around $22 million.
He said NAC only had $1 million in its account.
Also giving evidence, Country Co-ordinating Mechanism co-ordinator Oscar Mundida said government to date had not also honoured its commitment to the Global Fund pool of $1 million.