Zimbabwe's outstanding arrears to IMF reach US$140m

ZIMBABWE'S outstanding arrears to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) have now reached US$140 million at a time when the country owes the Washington-based group US$550 million, Tendai Biti, the Minister of Finance, has confirmed.

Tendai Biti
Tendai Biti

Biti said the country's outstanding arrears under the Fund's Extended Credit Facility (ECF) now amount to US$140 million.

The ECF replaced the Fund's Poverty Reduction and Growth Facility.

"Zimbabwe does not have the capacity to pay off the IMF's arrears from its own resources," Biti said in Harare.

"In this regard, the country will need to request cooperating partners for a concessional bridging loan or grant to settle arrears to the IMF."

He said clearance pf ECF arrears would unlock new financing arrangements from the IMF, within the context of a Fund supported financial arrangement, which would then be used to repay thye bruidging loan obtained from the cooperating partners.

"Zimbabwe will, however, need a track record of implementing sound macro-economic policies and assuarnces that arrears to other official creditors are programmed to be cleared," Biti said.

He said in this regard, it was very important to note that since 2009, the country had had a very successful track record of implementing sound macro-economic policies as witnessed by the stabilisation of the economy through the Short Term Emergency Recovery Programme (STERP I) and STERP II.

Biti has already confirmed that Zimbabwe owes multilateral institutions a grand total of US$2,504 billion, of which the World Bank is owed US$1,126 billion, the IMF, US$550 million, the African Development Bank (AfDB) US$529 million, and the European Investment Bank (EIB), US$221 million.

Minister Biti said the government was implementing a series of reforms focusing on many areas.

He said these included strengthening public finance managment, budget implemetation and execution, review of national tax laws, effective aid coordination, debt management, as well as privatising, restructuring and commercialising state enterprises.

He said government would also boost its financial sector stability sector.

President Robert Mugabe has said there is an urgent need for zimbabwe to achieve external debt sustainability through a comprehensive debt relief and arrears clearance programme.

"This must be stringly supported by my government and all the development partners and creditors," President Mugabe said.

Prime Minister, Morgan Tsvagirai, has also said it is "clear that Zimbabwe cannot rehabilitate its infrastructure and move forwrd with its socio-economic transformation reforms if the debt overhang challenge is not urgently resolved".

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