via IMF delegation expected in the country | The Herald August 18, 2015 by Conrad Mwanawashe
AN International Monetary Fund mission is expected in the country in the next two weeks to undertake the Second Review of the Staff Monitored Programme. The IMF mission in conjunction with the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development and the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe will organise a round table discussion with participants drawn from public and private sectors, NGOs, and development partners. The discussion will focus on economic prospects for Zimbabwe and the Re-engagement Process. The mission will engage over the period August 31 – September 11 2015.
“The main purpose of the Mission’s visit is to review progress by the authorities under the Staff Monitored Programme. You may be aware that a similar review was completed in April 2015, with the authorities having met all quantitative targets and structural benchmarks at the time. In addition, the Mission will also look at economic performance to date and update the macroeconomic framework as needed,” said Mr Christian Beddies, the IMF Resident Representative to Zimbabwe.
“The economic environment is challenging, but the authorities’ endeavour to implement their reform agenda remains encouraging. During the two weeks, the Mission will engage with various stakeholders – Government ministries and departments, the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe, the financial sector, private sector, NGOs and development partners,” said Mr Beddies.
However, Government is confident that all the June targets it set in the SMP were met.
Finance and Economic Development permanent secretary Mr Willard Manungo told business executives at the Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries meeting that Government is in constant dialogue with all the international financial institutions.
“The June targets, in terms of our appreciation of the requirements, we are on track. We are having a fund mission to confirm that we actually met the targets for June. That will bring a track record that is required for serious discussion on debt relief,” said Mr Manungo.
An IMF mission that was in the country in March noted that all the quantitative targets and structural benchmarks for the first review under the SMP were met. It said Government has made meaningful progress in implementing other key structural reforms, such as making operational an asset management company and amending the indigenisation and empowerment law.
“On that front we have made positive gains in terms of meeting the targets under the SMP. One key requirement is what we call the pari pasu principle in terms of equal treatment on the repayments. So where we used to make small token payments to the IMF we have since extended that to the African Development Bank, the World Bank where we are making payments of $4 million each quarter,” Mr Manungo said.
Government has also extended this to the European Bank.