SA considers Zimbabwe loan application

South Africa’s Minister of Finance, Pravin Gordhan, has agreed to consider the facilitation of a line of credit to Zimbabwe.

This follows a meeting with his Zimbabwean counterpart this weekend, when the two Ministers met to today to discuss ways of deepening cooperation between the Governments of South Africa and Zimbabwe.

“The Ministers agreed to consider the facilitation of a line of credit and a request for further budget support, which will be aligned to South Africa’s 2012 budget process,” read a statement released by the South African Treasury on Saturday.

Te Ministers also agreed to strengthen the collaboration between the South African Revenue Service (SARS) and Zimbabwe Revenue Authority with particular focus on the harmonisation of customs systems and procedures and investments in Beitbridge Border Post infrastructure.

“South Africa further committed itself to continue supporting Zimbabwe’s efforts to normalise its relations with multilateral financial institutions,” the Treasury added.

The discussions centred on the resolution of the Extraordinary Summit of the SADC Heads of State and Government held in Swaziland in March 2009, to provide support to Zimbabwe’s Short Term Economic Recovery Programme (STERP).

At the Summit, South Africa pledged to explore a number of possible support measures for Zimbabwe, including budget support grants, a line of credit and export credit facilities.

According to media reports, Zimbabwe has requested a loan worth R100 million from South Africa.

It has previously assisted Zimbabwe, contributing R300 million to the SADC Agriculture Support Programme, a portion of which was used for the purchase of seeds, fertiliser and fuel for agricultural production in Zimbabwe in 2008.

South Africa also extended R300 million as a Budget Support Grant to Zimbabwe for the rehabilitation of municipal infrastructure, including water reticulation, health services and education.

This was approved by Parliament and was given in terms of an agreement reached in 2009 between the Ministers of Finance of the two countries.

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