RBZ Debt Assumption Bill sails through

via RBZ Debt Assumption Bill sails through – DailyNews Live 12 May 2015 by Ndakaziva Majaka

HARARE – Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) Debt Assumption Bill on Tuesday sailed through the National Assembly, with 115 legislators voting for the piece of legislation while 37 opposed the motion.

The legislation, which will see government assuming over $1,35 billion debt, will now go to Senate for further scrutiny.

While MDC legislators tried to block the passage of the bill, Zanu PF policymakers outnumbered the MDC lawmakers.

“I raise a point of order, because most people voting for the passage of this bill benefitted from the money we are forcing government to assume,” said Kuwadzana East MDC legislator Nelson Chamisa.

The Bill is most likely to be ratified by the Senate and will be submitted to President Robert Mugabe for assent.

Analysts have warned that government does not have capacity to assume the staggering central bank debt, as the country is already overburdened with foreign debt.

Zimbabwe currently has a debt overhang of nearly $10 billion. Civil society groups have called for a debt audit, before government assumes the debt, whose effects could see tax hikes.

The Zimbabwe Coalition on Debt Development (Zimcodd) has warned government currently lacks the means to service the debt.

The Bill seeks to provide settlement of certain liabilities incurred by the bank. In terms of the Bill, the State will assume the debts which were incurred by the RBZ before December 31 2008.

According to the Bill, the Debt Management Office, a department in the ministry of Finance which was set up in 2010, would validate and reconcile the bank’s debts.

Transport minister, Obert Mpofu, also announced last week that government was set to takeover Air Zimbabwe’s $300 million debt.