HARARE – Zimbabwe’s debt crisis has surged to a staggering US$18 billion, posing significant threats to national development and access to global financial markets.

Addressing legislators in parliament on Wednesday, finance deputy minister David Mnangagwa said the country’s debt burden was still undergoing validation and reconciliation.

This includes the US$1.9 billion recapitalisation of the Mutapa Fund and an additional US$1.2 billion assumed from the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ).

“Our debt figures are still going through some validation and reconciliation,” Mnangagwa said.

“There has been US$1.9 billion recapitalisation of the Mutapa Fund and an additional US$1.2billion that was assumed from the RBZ.

“These would still need to be reconciled and validated before they are entered in the debt profile.

“That process is still underway.”

Mnangagwa also said debt reported to the African Development Bank in April stood at US$2.7 billion higher than the approved budget for this year which was still going through a validation process.

Government’s efforts to address the crisis are being hindered by unclear fund usage, with 76 percent of external bilateral debt (approximately $6.2 billion) in arrears.

Paris Club members, which include: the US, Germany, France, Japan, and Britain are owed US$4.1 billion, with nearly 98 percent in default due to Zimbabwe’s economic crisis.

Government’s appeal for debt forgiveness and penalty waivers has so far been unsuccessful.

The United States stopped participating in a critical debt restructuring program in January due to alleged lack of progress on human rights abuses, electoral reforms and crackdown on opposition politicians