President Mugabe Bashes Finance Minister Biti Over Byo Businesses

“If Bulawayo dies then all of Zimbabwe dies,” President Mugabe said in Bulawayo before dashing out to Rio De Janeiro in Brazil to attend the three-day Summit on the Environment.
“I asked Biti what he had done with the US$500 000 we had been given by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and he said he only had about US$100 000 left. We should have used that money to bring the businesses in Bulawayo up to standard because most of them were closed. During the colonial days, Bulawayo was used for the manufacturing industry and that is why the National Railways of Zimbabwe (NRZ) has its head quarters here. Harare is the Administrative Centre of Zimbabwe and, therefore, Bulawayo must survive and not die because most of our factories are here.”
President Mugabe then took a bash at the IMF accusing them of sidelining developing nations, including Zimbabwe, which owes the Washington-based organisation US$550 million, US$140 million of it, being in arrears.
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.
Minister Biti is MDC-T Secretary General.
He has, however, so far not made any statement on the burning issue.
The moves comes at a time when the delegation from the Washington-based IMF is making its visit to cash-strapped Zimbabwe for the Article VI Annual Consultations when  they scrutinise the economy.
Zimbabwe’s outstanding arrears to the IMF have now reached US$140 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.
“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.”
He said clearance pf ECF arrears would unlock new financing arrangements from the IMF, within the context of a Fund supported financial arrangement, which would then be used to repay the bridging loan obtained from the cooperating partners.
Biti says Zimbabwe owes multilateral institutions a grand total of US$2,504 billion, of which the World Bank is owed US$1,126 billion, the IMF, US$550 million, the African Development Bank (AfDB) US$529 million, and the European Investment Bank (EIB), US$221 million.
Biti says government is “implementing a series of reforms focusing on many areas”.
He said these included strengthening public finance management, budget implementation and execution, review of national tax laws, effective aid coordination, debt management, as well as privatising, restructuring and commercialising state enterprises.
Biti said the GNU would also boost its financial sector stability sector.