Chinamasa promises transparency but snubs the IMF

via Chinamasa promises transparency but snubs the IMF | The Zimbabwean 26.03.14 by Nelson Sibanda

Zimbabwe will publicise details of all diamond mining activities, but won’t provide any special reporting to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the minister for finance and economic development, Patrick Chinamasa, has said.

Chinamasa told The Zimbabwean in an exclusive interview that Zimbabwe diamond mining would be transparent, but the country had no specific obligation to provide IMF with any information about this.

“We will ensure that mining at Chiadzwa is carried out in a transparent manner and all information in this regard will be readily available to the nation and outsiders,” Chinamasa said.

Since government took over diamond mining at Chiadzwa, in partnership with private players, exploration of the precious mineral has been clothed in secrecy, fuelling suspicions that revenue from the gems is lining individual pockets.

The IMF is monitoring Zimbabwe’s debt plan under provisions of the Zimbabwe Staff Monitored Programme (SMP). This aims to help Zimbabwe clear what it owes to international financial institutions such as the World Bank and IMF so that the country can regain the voting rights it lost in 2003.

Economic analysts described the programme as a key element of Zimbabwe’s efforts to speedily clear debts and arrears, give momentum to its economic development strategy and re-engagement with international institutions.

Zimbabwe owes the IMF $124m and $1bn to the World Bank. The country’s external debts stand at $10.7bn.

Among the benchmarks in the SMP, Zimbabwe is required to promote sustainable spending, implement sound economic policies, make diamond mining transparent and restructure the Reserve Bank.

Former minister of finance Tendai Biti was among the signatories to the SMP during the GNU era. The programme started in April 2013 and was expected to run until November. It was then extended to June 2014, after which there would be a progress review.

Economist Godfrey Kanyenze said that because Zimbabwe was obliged to declare diamond revenue and other activities to its citizens, the IMF’s demands for similar declarations were relevant.

Kanyenze said the IMF, as a lender, would naturally want to know how the borrower was managing their finances.

If Zimbabwe finds economic discipline and meets the IMF’s expectations regarding the programme, the country would draw closer to international lenders.