INDICATIONS that Zimbabwe is on course to achieving complete normalisation of relations with international creditors will certainly go a long way in boosting confidence with the international business community. This is expected to happen around this time next year, according to Finance and Economic Development Minister Patrick Chinamasa, as the Government, is hoping to enter a new chapter of clearing its external debt.
Minister Chinamasa made the remarks following the conclusion of the first review of the International Monetary Fund Staff Monitored Programme on Monday. The programme is a major step towards normalising relations with the IMF, which suspended its voting rights in 2003 over non-payment of arrears.
Despite having voting rights restored in 2010, Zimbabwe has not been able to borrow from international lenders since 1999. Apart from the IMF, Zimbabwe arrears to other external lenders are estimated at $10 billion.
Such a state of affairs has for long prevented the country from accessing funds for development programmes.
We repeat what we have said in the past, that Zimbabwe needs a cocktail of measures on the fiscal and monetary front in addition to some acceptance of the economic realities.
After failing to attract meaningful levels of FDIs; 2015/16 should be the year that we target to be in the top five FDI destinations on the continent. There are no two ways about it. Cash inflows will improve the liquidity situation, up capacity utilisation, grow exports and create jobs in the mid-long term.
Once the economy is kicking, contributions to the fiscus will definitely improve and potentially alleviate the country’s debt crisis.
As such, the efforts being made by the Government towards normalising relations with the international community are refreshing and give hope to the nation, but the normalisation should not amount to capitulation.
The summary of it is that we are in a dynamic world and we must not remain static, but rather change with it. Minister Chinamasa must certainly be saluted for spearheading the efforts aimed at creating an enabling environment for business.
His repeated calls for the review of the Labour Act in line with international best practices is a step in the right direction as it will result in the improvement of the country’s competitiveness.
On the same token, continuous efforts aimed at restoring confidence in the economy by improving the doing business environment are important steps which we cherish.
IMF head of delegation Mr Domenico Fanizza said it was “encouraging” that the Government had taken a resolute stance to re-engage in its quest to lay a ground for stronger, more inclusive and lasting economic growth.
We, however, all hope that there would be reciprocation of this endeavour from the western partners.