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IMF to meet with MDC

Ndamu Sandu

THE opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) will sell its economic revival programme to the visiting International Monetary Fund (IMF) delegation expected in Zimbabwe on March 17.

The economic blueprint – Reconstruction, Stabilisation, Recovery and Transformation (Restart) – was launched in January.

A senior IMF official based in Washington Doris Ross will lead the delegation. MDC secretary for economic affairs Tendai Biti said the team, which will be conducting its annual Article IV Consultations, had requested a meeting with the opposition party.

“They have requested a meeting with us and I’m sure they will talk about our economic revival programme Restart since it is the current revival programme,” he said. “They will raise the issue of the state of the economy, Gono’s monetary policy and our prognosis of it both in the short and long-term.”

The IMF executive board in June 2003 suspended Zimbabwe’s voting and related rights having determined that the country had not sufficiently strengthened its cooperation with the financial institution in areas of policy implementation and payments.

Zimbabwe has been in arrears with the IMF since February 2001.

As of end of May 2003, Zimbabwe’s arrears to the financial institution amounted to US$233 million equivalent to about 47% of the country’s quota in the IMF.

In December last year the IMF took a hard-line stance against Zimbabwe, for compulsory withdrawal of its membership because of its failure to pay its dues on time.

Announcing his monetary policy statement, Gono said RBZ would engage and cooperate with the donor community who would be asked to support Zimbabwe with balance of payment, lines of credit, foreign direct investment and other technical assistance considered key and necessary to the country’s economic turnaround.

Analysts say the coming of the IMF delegation and its meeting with the opposition was a step towards reviving relations between Zimbabwe and multi-lateral financial institutions.

During the procedural visit to Zimbabwe, the team is set to also meet the RBZ governor and senior management at the bank, Ministry of Finance, labour and the business community.

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