The International Monetary Fund says Zimbabwe should fast-track the policy reform agenda in order for the country to gather support towards a strategy for clearing the $10 billion debt.
Addressing a Press conference on the Regional Economic Outlook for Sub Saharan Africa yesterday, the IMF African Department director, Antoinette Sayeh said she highlighted four key issues to help fast-track the reform process in her meetings with government officials.
“With regards to Zimbabwe, economic conditions remain difficult,” said Sayeh.
Sayeh said the issues she highlighted to the authorities include balancing the primary fiscal budget; restoring confidence and stability in Zimbabwe’s financial sector; addressing the country’s debt challenge and enhancing the business environment with a view to attracting investments.
“I know these issues are high on the authorities’ policy reform agenda and they are going to be monitored with the help of the IMF staff under a proposed new 15-month Staff Monitored Programme.
“The objectives of the new SMP include; to consolidate the fiscal position, improve the external position, mobilise international support for resolving the country’s external debt situation and to make progress in key structural reform areas in order to enhance the business climate, boost productivity and competitiveness and build confidence.”
An IMF team was in the country last month to conduct the third review of the SMP and to negotiate a successor programme.
The mission held meetings with the Minister of Finance and Economic Development Patrick Chinamasa, the Governor of the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe, Dr John Mangudya, the Chief Secretary to the President and Cabinet Dr Misheck Sibanda, the Ministries of Mines and Mining Development and Agriculture, Mechanisation and Irrigation Development.
The Bretton Woods Institution mission also met officials from the Chamber of Mines, the Bankers Association of Zimbabwe, development partners, the Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries and the parliamentary portfolio committee on Finance and Economic Development and development partners who included the African Development Bank and the World Bank.
Sayeh, who engaged government officials since her arrival in the country, said the Fund is keen on maintaining constructive relationships with Zimbabwe and this is reinforced by the recent re-opening of the IMF resident representative office in Harare.
The IMF outreach event followed the launch of the Regional Economic Outlook Report in Dar-es-Salaam, Tanzania last week and the breakfast meeting held yesterday is part of the information dissemination by the IMF on the economic situation in Sub-Saharan Africa.