Zimbabwe makes another payment to the IMF

Zimbabwe has paid another US$15 million to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) as the country tries to clear its debt arrears with the international lender, a newspaper reported on Tuesday.

In early September, Zimbabwe made a surprise payment of $120 million to the IMF,

which had been expected to expel Zimbabwe over the unpaid arrears.

“The latest payment to the fund last Thursday was injected into the general resources account. Arrears under this account trigger a country’s expulsion from the IMF,” the state-controlled Herald said on Tuesday.

The Southern African country still owes $160 million to the IMF. The Herald said it is “now almost a certainty rather than a probability” that the balance will be paid by next February.

Last month, the IMF voted to give Zimbabwe another six months before facing compulsory withdrawal from the IMF. Zimbabwe has been in arrears with the IMF since 1999, and has not been lent any money since then.

Foreign-currency shortages are causing hardships for most Zimbabweans. There are critical shortages of fuel and medicines, and most companies have to obtain foreign currency on the black market to pay for vital imports.

Zimbabwe’s Reserve Bank Governor Gideon Gono told the Herald that Zimbabwe’s efforts to clear its arrears with the IMF are “a matter of duty and honour for our country, as well as perseverance in the face of adversity”.

“We are not making these payments to show off, but simply doing the right thing for our country and its citizens,” he said.

Gono said his bank will this week disclose the source of the latest funds after the last payment prompted widespread speculation on where the cash-strapped country found such a large sum of money.

Gono revealed last month that the $120 million had come from exports and foreign-currency liquidations. – Sapa/DPA