FINANCE minister Tendai Biti and government officials will tomorrow attend the International Monetary Fund (IMF) Spring meeting in the United States where government is expected to lobby for the reinstatement of the countryâ€™s voting rights suspended in 2003 by the Bretton Woods institution.
The plenary meeting falls annually where member states and the joint World Bank-IMF Development Committee hold meetings to discuss progress on the work of the fund and the bank.
Zimbabwe owes the multilateral institution US$125 million and its voting rights were suspended in June 2003.
Sources said Biti and his team are also expected to meet a South African delegation comprising Finance minister Trevor Manuel on the sidelines of the IMF meeting to finalise details of a US$80 million loan pledged to Harare by Pretoria after last monthâ€™s Sadc summit.
Government requires US$8,5 billion over the next three years to revive the economy.
Unconfirmed reports said South Africa would propose a plan to channel funds sourced from the US to Zimbabwe through the United Nations Development Programme as the Zimbabwe Democracy and Economic Recovery Act prohibits the US from providing funds directly.
Last month an IMF team visited Zimbabwe to carry out their 2009 Article IV consultations. Following the visit, team leader Vitaliy Kramarenko advised government to effect â€œfurther progressâ€ to mitigate the decade-long economic decline.
â€œMaking further progress in structural reforms is essential for reviving economic growth and reducing poverty,â€ he said.
A number of positive steps that are in line with previous IMF recommendations, Kramarenko added, have already been implemented. These include price liberalisation, the removal of surrender requirements and the removal of most exchange restrictions on current account transactions, the imposition of hard budget constraints on parastatals, and the elimination of the Grain Marketing Board monopoly.
â€œIMF staff standÂ ready to continue to assist the authorities through policy advice,â€ said Kramarenko.
â€œTechnical and financial assistance from the IMF will depend on establishing a track record of sound policy implementation, donor support, and a resolution of overdue financial obligations to official creditors, including the IMF.â€
The team is expected to write a report which the IMF Executive Board is due to discuss early next month before submitting it to government.
BY BERNARD MPOFU