Biti tears into ‘biased’ IMF report

Source: Biti tears into ‘biased’ IMF report – NewsDay Zimbabwe


OPPOSITION MDC Alliance vice-president Tendai Biti has disputed the International Monetary Fund (IMF) report that recognised progress towards resuscitating Zimbabwe’s economy, claiming that it was based on assumptions and not factual observations.

Biti, a former Finance minister, accused the international organisation of working with government and the ruling Zanu PF party to produce a report which misrepresented facts on the ground.

Last month, the IMF team led by economist Dhaneshwar Ghura, conducted meetings with Finance minister Mthuli Ncube, Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe governor John Mangudya and other senior government officials and compiled a report which commended government efforts in stabilising the economy.

In the statement on June 16, 2021, the IMF said Zimbabwe was on the path to economic recovery. The IMF projected a 6% gross domestic product (GDP) growth a week after the World Bank had predicted 3,9% growth for the southern African country.

The team also commended government efforts to contain budget deficits and reserve money growth as well as the introduction of the foreign exchange auction system.

“The Press statement was naïve and dishonest,” Biti told a virtual meeting recently.

“It reminds me of the IMF reports of 2014-2016 by a former IMF chief which sounded like they had been authored at the Zanu PF head office.

“It looks like we are back to the same level of naivety. I do not think Ghura was ever in Zimbabwe. They conducted Zoom interviews with Zimbabwean officials with locals carefully selected by local officials to aid the dishonesty.

“This is typical of decades of the IMF interventions on the African continent which has been consistent with siding with autocrats, with an undemocratic agenda.”

But Zanu PF spokesperson Simon Khaya Moyo refuted Biti’s claims, stating that the ruling party had no influence on the IMF’s report.

“IMF is a professional body and Zanu PF is a different institution altogether,” Moyo said.

Economic analyst Persistence Gwanyanya said the IMF projections were in line with the prevailing economic developments.

“This can be supported by the stability that is being experienced. We are on the right path,” he said.

“The fact that the country is ranked among the top seven African countries successfully rolling out the vaccination programme proves that we are economically stable to be able to achieve that. Other economic factors like poverty and unemployment cannot vanish over a year, they need time.”

Another economist Christopher Mugaga said: “What is of concern is the quality for the growth. There can be 6% GDP growth, but it means nothing on the back of a negative economic growth. Government should consider soft lockdowns to allow the economy to continue functioning and achieve the IMF projections.”