A ZIMBABWEAN delegation led by central bank governor Gideon Gono left for Washington on Tuesday in a bid to avert the country’s expulsion from the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
The IMF executive board is meeting today to decide Zimbabwe’s membership of the Bretton Woods institution.
Although Zimbabwe last week made a surprise US$120 million partial payment, it is still in danger of expulsion because of huge arrears.
The delegation’s payments arrangement will seek ways of paying off over US$174 million in arrears owed to the IMF.
Sources said although the country’s arrears were long overdue, Gono and his team would parade last week’s payment as an indicator of a change of tenor to meet Zimbabwe’s international obligations.
The high-powered delegation, made up of senior staffers at the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe, also includes the two deputy governors, Charity Dhliwayo and Nicholas Ncube.
Munyaradzi Kereke, an advisor to the governor who had been widely tipped to make the trip, is said to have gone only as far as South Africa where the central bank is negotiating a loan to service part of its external debt.
Minister of Finance Herbert Murerwa confirmed Gono had gone to Washington for the IMF board meeting to be held today.
He however denied that Gono was going to make a US$50 million payment to the IMF.
“No, in fact no one has asked for that amount,” Murerwa said.
On the chances of the country being expelled from the IMF, Murerwa said if such a decision was taken it would likely be a political decision.
“Remember that the last country was expelled from the IMF in 1954. Zimbabwe is important in the region and if we are expelled, it would be because of politics and nothing else,” said Murerwa.