Pressure Group calls for Zim debt audit

“To parliament we are asking for an audit of the public debt,” said
ZIMCODD Executive Director, Dakarai Matanga who was speaking at
weekend festivities held to make the Week of Global Action Against
Debt and the Financial Institutions.
“The debt audit is basically a transparent and open inquiry into the
origins of the public debt.”
Matanga said his organisation would want parliament to apply the
principle of audious debt and reject any contracts found to be in that
category.
The country is sitting on a huge debt of about $ 7 billion going up to
about $ 8, 3 billion if interest costs are factored in.
The huge debt is limiting the government to among other things pay for
social services such as education, health, water and electricity as it
battles to repay money owed to the International Monetary Fund  (IMF),
World Bank and the African Development Bank (ADB) among others.
“We want any money that is borrowed by the country to be used on
social services,” said Matanga.
“Parliament should improve its capacity so that they are not just
rubber stamping authorities.”
In Zimbabwe according to the Loan Contraction and Debt Management
legislation President Robert Mugabe and Finance Minister Tendai Biti
can contract loans on behalf of the country.
But ZIMCODD wants the parliamentarians to be able to scrutinise the
loans and determine why they are needed, what are the terms, how they
are going to be paid back and how much of the country’s resources are
being mortgaged in the process.
As part of the Week of Global Action Against Debt and the Financial
Institutions, ZIMCODD launched a simplified version of the Citizen’s
Guide to Debt. The book seeks to explain in simple ways how government
contracts debt. The book was also translated in Shona, Ndebele and
brail to cater for the blind.
The organisation also hosted several artistic events at the weekend in
Bulawayo, Harare and Mutare. The highlight was a play titled “No loans
without us.”
The play clearly shows how debt impacts on people’s lives and
emphasized the point that citizens have to have a role to play in loan
contraction.
There are suspicions that the previous Zanu PF government might have
used the money owed to international institutions to prop up its iron
fist hold on power and spread largesse among its members.