Give Us Money, To Clear Debt Catch Up With Rest Of Globe’-Chinamasa To World Bank

Finance and Economic Development minister Patrick Chinamasa has pleaded for a cash bailout from the World Bank to enable Harare to clear its debts and catch up with the rest of the world.Zimbabwe has an external debt of over $8,4 billion which has hamstrung the country from accessing lines of credit from multilateral and bilateral financial institutions.

Speaking at the opening ceremony of new World Bank offices in Harare on Wednesday, Chinamasa said the relocation of the World Bank offices should signify symbolic upscaling of the relationship between the bank and the country.

“My appeal is give me fresh money to rebuild. All is talk unless you give me money. If that capacity is not there, we will continue talking and talking,” Chinamasa said.

Chinamasa said the country last received support from the World Bank more than 10 years ago.

“I hope in the not-too-distant future we will commission the implementation of projects. I can say I have done all I could to engage multilateral institutions, which is why I am impatient. We do so for this reason, we have been out for 10 or more years. I cannot wait further to catch up. We need to catch up, we are not enjoying our membership with the bank,” he said.

Zimbabwe has an infrastructure backlog of over 15 years due to the economic challenges that it faced between 1998 and 2009 which saw the country recording the highest figures in inflation and devaluation of the local currency.

“Iam being impatient because of the stagnant nature of our relationship. I think it should bring substantive issues on the table for the implementation of Zimbabwe Agenda for Sustainable Socio Economic Transformation,” he said.

Chinamasa said the engagement was necessary because the World Bank involved international partnerships that include the International Finance Corporation, African Development Bank and there was need to recognise them.

Guang Zhen Chen, new World Bank country director for seven southern Africa countries including Zimbabwe, said government needed to address the wage bill as 82% of the budget was going to wages, which is not sustainable.

“The government of Zimbabwe need to demonstrate that they are serious on macroeconomic challenges, investment challenges so that the country can grow,” Chen said.
Chen is the country director for Botswana, Namibia, Lesotho, Swaziland, South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe. He is based in Pretoria. By Victoria Mtomba Source-newsday

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