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11 Sep 2005 09:44
Zimbabwe would have paid off most of its debts by the time the International Monetary Fund revisits the country in six months, Zimbabwe’s Finance Minister, Herbert Murerwa said on Saturday.
Murerwa said that the global lender on Friday allowed Zimbabwe a six-month reprieve before deciding whether would or not it would cancel its membership over unpaid debt.
The decision was taken at a meeting in Washington, by the IMF’s executive board.
The board said the six month period would also give Zimbabwe a chance to implement sound economic policies and cut down on its arrears.
Zimbabwe had been threatened with expulsion from the IMF over hefty arrears of around $175-million.
In a suprise move last week, the country paid $120-million to the IMF in an attempt to stave off expulsion. However, it still owes $175-million.
“I am happy Zimbabwe has been given another lifeline.
We will look at ways in the next few months to cut down on more of our debts and patch up our relationship with the IMF,” Murerwa said.
“The IMF has applied its mind.
Murerwa said Reserve Bank Governor Gideon Gono had convinced the Fund that expelling Zimbabwe would not be in the “best interest of its people”.
He also said they were looking forward to the proposed loan South Africa has, in principal, agreed to give Zimbabwe.
“South Africa is a very good friend to Zimbabwe. I am sure it will give Zimbabwe some money.
“I’m (also) confident an agreement will be signed soon,” the Minister said.
He said while his country still had “many hurdles to overcome”, it would emerge triumphantly “as it always had”. - Sapa
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