Friction in govt over IMF proposals

imfHARARE - The MDC and Zanu (PF) parties are reported to be divided over how to respond to an International Monetary Fund (IMF) proposal for a staff monitored program that will allow the institution to directly monitor projects that it is funding.

The Voice of America last week reported that Zanu (PF) was opposed to the concept, arguing it would erode the countrys independence, while those in the MDC are said to have embraced the idea.

Economic analyst Bekithemba Mhlanga explained that staff monitored programs are where the IMF would make money available for either rehabilitation or infrastructure projects and what would happen is that they will provide their own personnel and manpower to oversee the implementation and the expenditure of these monies which they make available.

This he said was different from the normal allocations where the IMF gives you a cheque and says bye-bye get on with it. This time you get a cheque and somebody to follow the cheque, to see that it does what it was supposed to do from the beginning.

This would mean IMF staff being stationed in the country to monitor things like the contractual and tendering arrangements for projects it has funded. They would basically be involved in the management of the entire project while keeping an active eye on the money.

So why is Zanu (PF) opposing an arrangement that is likely to bring much needed money for the cash strapped government? Well we all know what independence and sovereignty means in ZANU PFs book, dont we? It means it will erode their ability to get their friends, relatives and cronies to get on some of these (IMF funded) projects. It also means Zanu (PF) cannot use some of these projects for political purposes, Mhlanga said.

According to IMF figures Zimbabwe is estimated to have some US$7.2 billion dollars in external debt.

Recovery prospects remain dim because of endless political squabbles in the coalition government, triggered by President Robert Mugabes refusal to genuinely share power, despite losing elections in 2008. Ongoing human rights violations and a failure to respect property rights have also discouraged foreign investment.?

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