ZIMBABWE has made a formal request for a further R300 million facility from South Africa to fund the countryâ€™s education sector and the summer crop.
The request came a week after the South African Department of Government Information Services, International Relations and Cooperation revealed that it had transferred two thirds of the R300 million it pledged to assist the power-sharing government earlier this year.
Finance Minister Tendai Biti yesterday confirmed that government made the request for additional funding a week after it received R200 million of the first facility from South Africa.
Â â€œWe have sent our request to the South African government for further funding of R300 million and we hope the credit line will be extended and we want to use the money to fund the education sector and areas of concern are infrastructural developments at universities, primary and secondary schools,â€ Biti said.
He said the funds required would also be channelled towards this yearâ€™s summer crop and for capitalising provincial hospitals.
â€œThe first part of the R200 million was used towards the rehabilitation of the Harare water systems, the refurbishment of Mpilo and Harare hospitals and we are seeking more funds so that we can also build a hospital in Lupane and capitalise the ones in Chitungwiza and Mutare.
We also need to supply farmers with adequate chemicals and maize seed for the summer crop,â€ Biti added.Â Â Â
He said the remaining R100 million of the first facility, which is yet to be provided by the South African government, would be used to construct the Mtshabezi water pipeline that will connect Bulawayoâ€™s water supply dams to Mtshabezi Dam. Â
The first R300 million grant from South Africa was pledged to assist Zimbabwe in critical sectors that needed urgent attention at the time.
In confirming the disbursement of part of the funds pledged, the South African governmentâ€™s Information Services, International Relations and Cooperation director-general Ayanda Ntsaluba this week said:Â â€œThis grant is aimed at assisting Zimbabwe in some of the critical sectors that require assistance.â€
He said his government had already dispatched R200 million to Zimbabwe.
Botswana is the only other southern African country to have loaned substantial amounts of money to Zimbabwe after South Africa. Botswana made available US$70 million.
The southern Africa region, through Sadc, is also in the process of finalising a credit line facility for Zimbabwe.
Government badly needs the funds to resuscitate collapsing infrastructure, recapitlise industry to operate optimally and to boost agricultural production.
Zimbabwe has for close to a decade been reduced to a basket case relying on donations from neighbours it has previously supplied with food due to poor government policies and the political crisis that started in 2000.
The economic situation in Zimbabwe has improved vastly since the formation of the inclusive government in February, but the international community has been sceptical with the progress of implementing the global political agreement signed last September between President Robert Mugabe, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and his deputy Arthur Mutambara.
The United States and Western countries have declined to offer the government budgetary support and only pledged humanitarian aid until the full implementation of the political pact.
BY LOUGHTY DUBE