Zimbabwe News and Internet Radio

Govt urged to explain ‘how much of US$13.7 billion benefited citizens?’

President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s administration has been urged to explain how the US$13.7 billion debt it owes international creditors benefitted ordinary Zimbabweans who are bearing the brunt.

Nehanda Radio understands that Zimbabwe has US$3.2 billion public debt, the country owes bilaterals US$5, 5 billion, Paris Club members -US$3.8 billion. Non-Paris Club members are owed US$1.7 billion, World Bank – US$1.5 billion and AFDB – US$700k

The taxpayers money is largely responsible for the coverage of these debts. The Zimbabwe Coalition on Debt and Development (ZIMCODD) said the government needed to reveal to citizens how the money benefitted them.

The coalition added that there is a need for an audit into the use of the debt.

“It’s time for Zimbabwe to have a sustainable solution to the debt crisis. The crowding out effect of public debt on social service delivery has been felt for long. Funds meant for delivering services to the citizens are diverted towards debt repayment,” ZIMCODD said in a statement.

“In all this matrix, it is the ordinary citizens who bear the brunt as they depend more on public services. The question remains. How much of US$13.7 billion benefited citizens? We need a comprehensive debt audit to ascertain this. Join the movement and ask.”

Fight Inequality Alliance Zimbabwe also said: “Irresponsible and unaccountable debt management in Zimbabwe has become one the avenues for bleeding the national purse. The poverty levels are rising to unprecedented levels. What are the chances of Zimbabwe attaining SDG 10?”

Finance Minister Mthuli Ncube
Finance Minister Mthuli Ncube

In November last year, data released by Finance minister Mthuli Ncube in his annual debt analysis showed that the government had paid US$44,2 million as part of its refreshed debt repayment plan.

At that payment rate of settlement, however, it could take Zimbabwe over 300 years to pay off the mounting debts and interest.

Zimbabwe is facing a plethora of economic and financial problems. The rate of the local dollar is continuously falling against the foreign currency. There is high unemployment rate and prices of basic commodities are persistently rising.

The money that is supposed to be channelled to struggling hospitals and poor roads is paying the debt.

Ncube last year said his plan was to demonstrate goodwill to the powerful economies before kicking off full-scale payments.

“We have developed an arrears clearance and debt restructuring strategy,” Ncube said.

“As government, we are now speaking to various countries to see who could be a sponsor because we need a sponsor and once we are successful we will be able to move on to the next phase, which is really to tackle those arrears with the World Bank and the African Development Bank, the preferred creditors.

“We are working hard on that. I must say that for now we have taken the step of beginning to pay token payments to the World Bank, the African Development Bank and the European Investment Bank.” Nehanda Radio