Reconstruction fund defies setbacks

Source: Reconstruction fund defies setbacks | The Herald

Reconstruction fund defies setbacks

Business Reporter

THE Government has made progress in the implementation of the Zimbabwe Reconstruction Fund (ZIMREF) despite difficulties brought about by the Covid-19 necessitated lockdown.

ZIMREF is a country-specific multi-donor trust fund that was approved by the World Bank in May 2014, which will run until December 2021. The fund is expected to contribute to the strengthening of Zimbabwe’s systems for reconstruction and development with a focus on stabilisation and reform, development and poverty alleviation.

“The Public Finance Management Enhancement Project (PFMEP), continues to gain momentum irrespective of the disruptive effects of Covid-19. The project team remains resolute in project activities implementation despite the restrictions of the Covid-19 pandemic lockdown.

“The Government of Zimbabwe on the other side has not found it ease to further relax any imposed restrictions as the devastating effects of the global pandemic still linger over all facets of life in the country,” said the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development in a recent update.

“For instance, the number of infections continue to soar while there has also been an increase in the death toll from the pandemic. Resultantly, most civil service work remains curtailed.

“However, there has been some commendable progress mostly in project activities of a virtual nature. System-based project activities have become more lively with increased access to remote connectivity to Users and service providers.

“The Government of Zimbabwe and its development partners have commendably provided required resources (VPN lines, sim cards and data) to realise remote connectivity. Project activities that require virtual interaction between project team members and service providers have similarly benefited immensely
from availed virtual communication platforms and tools.”

According to the update, some of the main outcomes of ZIMREF presently are: availing of PFMS system remote connectivity to system users; the successful completion of the ZIMRA Interface; progress on the critical interface between the PFMS system and the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ); and progress in the business planning and consolidation module, business intelligence and web portal.

Also completed is the installation of air conditioning  units at all 63 kiosks and training centres as agreed in the contract; the completion of operational acceptance for all 15 kiosks under phase 1 of the project; and the successful delivery of outstanding project equipment (UPSs and desks, chairs, switches and routers) for phase 2 and 3 kiosks.

ZIMREF is the key instrument for implementing the World Bank third interim strategy note for Zimbabwe and for supporting the implementation of the country’s Transitional Stabilisation Programme, which is now coming to an end.