Govt has no money: Fin Min Chinamasa

“I DO not have capital because the country is not in the global economy,” Treasury Minister Patrick Chinamasa said in Harare Wednesday, blaming sanctions for the dire state of the country’s finances.

Hard times ... Finance minister, Patrick Chinamasa

Hard times … Finance minister, Patrick Chinamasa

The government’s much touted ZimAsset blueprint has failed to take off because the administration cannot raise the $27 billion needed to finance the programme as the country struggles with an economic crisis that has lasted more than a decade.

Treasury last week revealed that salaries for State workers – supposed to be paid mid-month – would be delayed with teachers, nurses and doctors told they will only get their June pay in July.

Teachers unions have already threatened to go on strike if their salaries are not paid this month.

But speaking at a poverty reduction forum in Harare, Chinamasa said government was broke.

“I do not have capital because the country is not in the global economy. Sanctions imposed on us have derailed our capacity to honour our international obligations,” he said.

“We have not been able to pay our debts to international financial institutions such as the World Bank (WB) and International Monetary Fund (IMF) for many years and any benefits associated with being a paid up member are not being enjoyed by government.

The government blames sanctions imposed by western countries to punish electoral fraud and human rights abuses for Zimbabwe’s problems, denying charges of economic incompetence and rampant corruption.

The European Union (EU) has since lifted most of its sanctions and Chinamasa has been leading the Harare’s administration’s efforts to re-engage with the West as well as institutions such as the World Bank and International Monetary Fund (IMF).

“All the engagement with the three multilateral institutions and any international organisations is all in order to unlock lines of credit to the productive sectors which is something that I do not have at affordable interest rates,” he said.

The minister said Zimbabwe needed to get its internal affairs in order before inviting outside help and investment.

“If outsiders, like IMF, World Bank come, they must find us organised, well managed, they will never engage us at all if we are not well managed,” he said.

Chinamasa insisted on the need to revamp the agricultural sector and resolution of the land question.

“The agriculture issue must be addressed to make the land productive and to improve the livelihoods of people,” he said.

“The land question should be brought to finality with the fixing of (farm) boundaries in order to issue 99-year leases to farmers and evaluation of compensation to former white farmers.

“Failure to compensate for land and improvements is a liability to the nation. Full compensation should be paid for land and improvements made.”

Beneficiaries of the land reform programme must also make productive use of their farms.

“If Zimbabwe addresses agricultural issues and improves productivity, challenges being faced by people will be addressed as well,” the minister said.

Chinamasa also addressed criticism of his pro-West reform programme by cabinet colleagues and sections of the ruling Zanu PF party.

“I have never said at any moment I am putting all my eggs in their (international finance institutions) basket. I have said we must put our eggs in all baskets that are available,” said Chinamasa.

“We must engage everybody, we must be a friend of everyone and above all, we must also look inward. All our reforms are geared towards unlocking domestic resources.”


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