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IMF Team Arrives in Zimbabwe for Mid-Year Budget Consultations

  • Gibbs Dube

The IMF recently said it expects Zimbabwe's economy to slow down to a 5.5 percent rate of growth this year, though Finance Minister Tendai Biti has voiced optimism it will expand faster than his 9.3 percent projection

A team of economists from the International Monetary Fund arrived in Harare this week to help prepare a mid-year budget statement and review economic developments.

IMF External Relations Department spokesman Alistair Thomson in a statement said the team led by IMF Mission Chief for Zimbabwe Vitality Kramarenko will meet with officials from the Treasury and Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe, and prominent business people.

The team will help Zimbabwe develop an economic strategy to counter the risk of failing to hit growth targets "due to uncertainties caused by (black) empowerment regulations.”

Kramarenko’s team will bolster two IMF missions in the country since last Tuesday to provide technical assistance on tax reform and public finance management.

The IMF recently said it expects Zimbabwe's economy to slow down to a 5.5 percent rate of growth this year, though Finance Minister Tendai Biti has voiced optimism that 2011 expansion of gross domestic product will exceed his earlier 9.3 percent projection.

Economist Eric Bloch said the IMF delegation can play a key role in planning given the negative impact on growth of the indigenization program which requires foreign-owned enterprises to make over a 51 percent stake to indigenous or black investors.

Matabeleland Chamber of Industries Chairwoman Ruth Labode said the IMF delegation can do little to save numerous Bulawayo firms on the brink of collapse.

“We don’t see any IMF help translating to the much-needed business loans for failing enterprises in our city since we are a forgotten lot,” Labode said.

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