ZIMBABWE – An International Monetary Fund (IMF) team arrives in Zimbabwe on Tuesday for a rigorous third and final review of the staff-monitored programme (SMP) and the Article IV consultations, amid high optimism within government circles.
The southern African nation last year tabled an ambitious proposal to clear $1,8 billion in arrears to the World Bank (WB), IMF and the African Development Bank (AfDB) by April to pave way for new funding.
All is in order. We are happy with our performance under the SMP on all the targets
This would then be followed by engagement with other creditors, such as the European Investment Bank, Paris Club and non-Paris Club members by June.
Zimbabwe stopped servicing its loans in the late 1990s, as its economic woes mounted and has been unable to access fresh loans and balance of payments support from global lenders since then.
“The SMP appears to be on track, but it will be the upcoming mission that will undertake the third and final review of the SMP,” IMF resident representative, Christian Beddies, is quoted saying.
“They will also conduct the annual Article IV consultation. This is an exercise where we take a broader and medium term look at the economic challenges in the country.”
The SMP is an informal agreement between authorities and the fund staff to monitor the implementation of a country’s economic programme.
Zimbabwe’s relations with IMF have improved considerably over the past six years.
Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe governor John Mangudya, who is also chairman for the debt clearance and re-engagement committee, is confident of better fortunes.
“All is in order. We are happy with our performance under the SMP on all the targets,” he said.
The Zimbabwean economy last year looked like it was on the verge of an implosion, with widespread company closures and job losses having been witnessed in the past two years.
Government revenue generation has been subdued, with its revenue collection agent, the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority missing its targets.
The revenue authority has blamed the poor revenue performance on a “myriad of challenges”.