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Zimbabwe Wants New IMF Staff-Monitored Program by April

Zimbabwe Tumbling Economy
Zimbabwe Tumbling Economy

By Nyasha Chingono

HARARE (Reuters) - Zimbabwe hopes to agree a new staff-monitored program with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) by April next year, with an IMF team due to visit later this month for initial talks, its finance minister said on Thursday.

"Our intention is that by the time we go for the Spring Meetings in April 2024 we should have signed off on a staff-monitored program," Mthuli Ncube told reporters in Marrakech at the IMF and World Bank Annual Meetings.

"It will focus on maintaining discipline on the fiscal front and continue fine-tuning our exchange rate system and maintaining a tight monetary policy."

An IMF staff-monitored program is an informal agreement under which Fund staff keep tabs on a member country's economic program. If successful it could lead to a financial arrangement in the future.

Zimbabwe's economy has been scarred by successive bouts of hyperinflation.

Its access to long-term international capital is blocked by billions of dollars of arrears on debts owed to foreign lenders including the World Bank and African Development Bank.

Ncube also said on Thursday that some white farmers whose lands were seized two decades ago in one of the most divisive policies of strongman Robert Mugabe's era had agreed compensation terms with the government.

"Individuals farmers have agreed to the payment plan and they are happy to sign with the government," he said.

Zimbabwe intends to pay the farmers $3.5 billion over a decade, instead of over 20 years as announced three years ago. The compensation is central to a government arrears-clearance strategy developed in collaboration with the African Development Bank.

(Reporting by Nyasha Chingono; Writing by Bhargav Acharya; Editing by Alexander Winning)