Biti Disburses The Controversial US 100m IMF Funds

The government last year accessed US$50 million which was directed towards procurement of inputs for the 2009/2010 agricultural season.

“My ministry has since made another application for a drawdown of US$100 million which we intend to apply to priority areas, particularly infrastructure,” Biti told journalists and senior government officials who were gathered in Harare.

He said given that the money has to be repaid, the ministry has taken a stance that implementing agency as well as beneficiary institutions will be responsible for the repayment of the loan.

“In the past most institutions have given lack of financial resources as an excuse for lack of performance. Given that the money is already in our account and ready for disbursement, it is critical that impelementing agencies put their systems in place in order to ensure that there is no time wasting,” said Biti.

The Infrastructure Development Bank has been appointed to facilitate disbursement of the funds on behalf of the government.

“Based on our experience with other projects from last year, the resources will not be disbursed to beneficiary institutions, rather, payments will be made directly to suppliers of goods and services,” said Biti.

He said the projects were selected on their ability to re-invigorate the economy.

The rehabilitation of the Hwange Thermal Power Station has been granted a US$10 million while the roads dualisation and bridge constructions got US$10.285 million.

Biti availed US$18.1 million for the rehabilitation of the Harare International Airport taxiways and the construction of the Joshua Nkomo airport.

Water and sanitation projects for Bulawayo, Marondera and Mutoko have granted US$6.4 million, US$2.9 and US$130 000 respectively. The minister also set aside US$19.5 million for productive sector lines of credit.

The government has also set aside US$7 million for the Mtshabezi water augumentation project. It also set aside US$6.2 million for ICT infrastructure and a US$ 800 000 for the development of Broadcasting Transmission Network.

The Finance minister also availed a US$10 million for housing projects across the country while setting aside a US$3.5 million for the completion of the Central Registry which has been under construction since the late 1990s.

Biti was involved a war of words by Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe Governor Gideon Gono over the control of the SDRs with the former arguing that he was the one mandated to distribute the IMF funds.

Gono eventually backed down after the RBZ amendments bill that was intended clipping his wings was eventually passed in the House of Assembly. The Bill also recently sailed through the Senate.