A high level IMF delegation was in Zimbabwe for the annual Article IV Consultations which are usually made in May. They held discussions with several individuals including ministers who deal with the country’s economic affairs.
“Yes we met with the IMF in Harare,” said a senior official from the Business Commission of Zimbabwe (BCZ), an organisation that represents all of the country’s business organisations.
The BCZ is led by David Govere, who also sits on the Employers’ Confederation of Zimbabwe (Emcoz) Board.
“The IMF said they would not release funds before we repay outstanding arrears. They also said we must get back on track economy wise. In fact they said Zimbabwe must clear all outstanding IMF arrears.”
The move comes hardly a week after President Robert Mugabe castigated his Minister of Finance, Tendai Biti, accusing him of sidelining the “City of Kings” – Bulawayo.
“If Bulawayo dies then all of Zimbabwe dies,” President Mugabe said in Bulawayo recently.
Politicians and business executives based in Bulawayo have accused his government of ignoring Bulawayo, the country’s second largest city.
Some Harare-based politicians generally accuse Bulawayo citizens of being sell outs because they voted for the MDC-T led by Prime Minister, Morgan Tsvangirai.
Zimbabwe’s outstanding arrears to the IMF have now reached more than US$200 million at a time when the country owes the influential group US$550 million.
Biti said Zimbabwe’s outstanding arrears under the Fund’s Extended Credit Facility (ECF) now amount to US$140 million. The ECF replaced the Fund’s Poverty Reduction and Growth Facility.