IMF Delegation Expected Next Month

In an exclusive interview in Harare, Hawkins said: “The IMF is coming next month (June) to see how we are faring. There is nothing really new about this but I think this time around they will ask where our diamond cash is going to and how it is being used.

“As you probably know the Minister of Finance, Tendai Biti, has said we could earn about US$600 million from diamonds but the Minister of Mines and Mining Development, Obert Mpofu, on the other hand, says this might not be the case and so this will have to be clarified to the delegation.”

Hawkins said he did not know whether Zimbabwe has paid anything yet to the IMF.

“I cannot comment on our repayment schedule because I have not heard about any repayments yet,” he said. “However, they will be worried about our diamond cash just like they were worried about the oil cash in Angola and how that was used before they could come in and help that country.”

Hawkins said as long as the country did not repay its outstanding debts, the IMF would not “budge a finger” to help the economic recovery programme.

Zimbabwe’s outstanding arrears to the IMF have now reached US$140 million at a time when the country owes the Washington-based group US$550 million.

“Zimbabwe does not have the capacity to pay off the IMF’s arrears from its own resources,” Biti said in Harare. “In this regard, the country will need to request cooperating partners for a concessional bridging loan or grant to settle arrears to the IMF.”