Godfrey Marawanyika/Ndamu Sandu
ZIMBABWE will not access the European Union’s €109 million grant for technical assistance from the European Development Fund (EDF) as it has not addressed the conc
erns raised by the EU prior to the aid ban, it emerged this week.
The grant is meant for development of various sectors of the economy.
The EU suspended aid to Zimbabwe in 2002 over lack of freedom of the media, unfair elections, subversion of the judiciary, political violence and disorderly land reform.
Although the EU is reviewing Zimbabwe’s grant next year, it has availed €7,5 million for HIV/Aids programmes.
The EU head of delegation to Zimbabwe Francesca Mosca said the money was available but the country has to meet the EU’s conditions to access the funds.
“Funds are still there earmarked for Zimbabwe but the EU has some concerns which it raised in 2002,” Mosca said.
She said that for local organisations to access the HIV/Aids funds they had to be first registered by the government under the relevant new legislation.
Last week parliament passed the NGO Bill that will repeal the Private Voluntary Organisations Act.
The new legislation will make it illegal for local NGOs involved in human rights and governance issues to receive foreign funding.
The money will be used to assist NGOs to work in close cooperation with public health institutions in at least eight districts in the country.
Mosca said that the EU headquarters in Brussels had recently approved the money.
“The money was approved sometime in November and it is meant for HIV/Aids projects,” she said.
“The money is coming. As required by the law, the NGOs should seek registration and we are hoping they will not face any problems.”
She said the funds would only be disbursed to registered organisations.
Government has given all NGOs that are already operating and legally registered under the PVO Act a six-month grace period to comply with the new regulations.
The NGO Bill now awaiting President Robert Mugabe’s assent will result in the creation of an NGO council composed of five civil society and nine government representatives.
The five representatives will be appointed at the discretion of the Minister of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare.