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PDP urges IMF to rethink re-engaging Zimbabwe

By Tatenda Dewa | Harare Bureau |

The opposition People’s Democratic Party (PDP), led by Tendai Biti, has urged the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to abandon its plans to restore aid to Zimbabwe.

Former Finance Minister Tendai Biti
Former Finance Minister Tendai Biti

The Zanu (PF) government is likely to hammer out an agreement for a repayment scheme with the IMF this week, according to emerging reports.

The World Bank (WB) might also resume direct engagement with the government after close to two decades of an aid freeze owing to big arrears.

The IMF, WB and African Development Bank (AfDB) will meet in September to confirm a model for repayment of outstanding debts to the institutions.

The IMF visited Zimbabwe in mid-June this year for discussions on progress the country is making in its financial reforms.

But PDP insists the Bretton Woods institution is ill-advised, pointing out that President Robert Mugabe’s government lied to the IMF about its fiscal status.

“We have argued that…the regime has been busy lying to a gullible international community in order to lay its desperate fingers on resources and resources alone, without the pain of reform.

“In 2015 the Government lied to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) that it had met its structural quantitative bench marks. One of those benchmarks was that it would meet and maintain a primary balance in its accounts.

“In March 2016, the IMF in a statement in Harare maintained the lie that Zanu PF had indeed met its target. But now we know this is a lie,” read the PDP statement jointly written by Vince Musewe, the finance secretary, and Jacob Mafume, the spokesperson.

The party did not, however, provide proof that the benchmarks had not been met, but sceptics have pointed out that the government is too broke and ill-disciplined to meet the IMF conditions.

They have questioned where Zimbabwe will get the money for a reported $1,8 billion repayment package considering that it is struggling to raise salaries for the sensitive security sector on which President Robert Mugabe’s rule has mainly rested, and the rest of the civil sector.

The country is grappling with a biting cash shortage that has forced government to announce the introduction of bond notes that industry and Zimbabwean citizens suspect could herald the re-introduction of the local currency suspended in 2009.

“The IMF has no choice but to regard the lie as declaration of non-cooperation. The IMF and the rest of the international community must simply understand that it is dealing with liars.

“Unless of course, it too wants to protect liars. Unless of course, it too wants to promote the lie that there is genuine reform in Zimbabwe, that present day Zimbabwe under chief liar Robert Gabriel Mugabe can actually pull through some reforms,” added PDP.

It called on the IMF to stop the re-engagement process.

“The IMF must do the right thing and urgently review its position regarding Zimbabwe…The regime must be given an opportunity of explaining its lies and in the process further hang itself.

“For the moment surely the Lima (Peruvian city where IMF and WB met last year met) road map must be suspended until a review mission and a fresh board meeting are held,” said PDP.

The opposition party accused government of extravagance, estimating that it had produced treasury bills in excess of $3 billion and raided depositors’ accounts to fund the ruling elite.

“This regime has maintained a terrible budget deficit which we have no doubt is now close to 12 percent of GDP (Gross Domestic Product). This is why they are cash shortages that have caused havoc across the land,” read the statement. Nehanda Radio

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