via No boxes of cash from China, Mugabe 11 September 2014
FACED with criticism that his hopes for a US$4 billion economic bailout were disappointed in China, President Robert Mugabe said Thursday that those making the claim should understand that no country handed out boxes of cash gratis.
Mugabe’s US$27 billion ZimAsset economic blueprint remains stalled due to lack of funding and, more immediately, the government reportedly needs a couple of billions or more to fire the country’s faltering economy.
Ahead of his trip to Beijing, officials at the Chinese embassy in Harare had indicated that negotiations were ongoing regarding a bailout with the sticking point said to be the security for the facility.
And possibly explaing why the bailout deal failed, Finance minister Patrick Chinamasa said he was given a hard-time in China with Beijing expressing deep concern over Harare’s failure to repay previous loans.
“We have been borrowing from the Chinese financial institutions and as soon as we borrowed, we never went back even to tell them that we had some challenges which prevented us from honouring our commitment,” said the minister, who has visited Beijing three times this year.
“So they wondered what kind of debtors we were … I was confronted of course with crimes of omission and commission; you have not been honouring these debts and so on.”
However, addressing chiefs in Gweru on Thursday Mugabe said although he did not return with bucket-loads of money he secured firm commitments to support infrastructure projects that would form the basis of the country’s economic recovery.
“These claims that we should have come back with boxes of money … I’m not aware of those negotiations and that is now how governments operate.
“Instead, what happens is you agree with another country that you have projects which require funding either in the form of soft loans or they can come in as joint venture partners.
“So the country you’re dealing with comes in as a partner. No one just gives you money.
The veteran leader said he secured funding for key infrastructure projects including a massive revamp of the country’s roads network.
“They are going to do roads . . . yes we are going to have new dual carriageways. . . Beitbridge to Harare, Harare to Mutare and so on that is what we would want to see,” he said.
Other projects had also been agreed in agriculture, diamonds processing and the construction of a new Parliament building.
“Those projects can employ hundreds of our young people from school boys and girls,” he said.
“They also built a new parliament for Malawi, but of course ours would be much bigger, it’s a beauty an absolute beauty with the gadgets very modern.
Mugabe claimed that western countries were envious of Harare’s ties with China and mow making moves to repair damaged relations.
“I can assure you that Britain, Europe and America are already starting to get worried that they have been replaced by China.” He said.