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IMF Executive Board To Reconsider Zimbabwe's Status In February

Zimbabwe's status as an International Monetary Fund member nation will be taken up again by the IMF Executive Board in February, official sources said Thursday.

IMF spokeswomen Gita Bhatt confirmed the Board will meet in early February.

On the table will be the question of restoring Harare’s voting rights and its right to tap IMF funding. Harare has cleared debt arrears to the IMF General Resource Account, but other arrears totaling some US$119 million remain under the Poverty Reduction and Growth Facility-Exogenous Shocks Facility.

The board’s decision will be informed by a report from the Article IV mission expected in Harare next month for an economic policy review. The IMF wants Harare to change policies - in particular curbing public spending - to reverse the process that has driven inflation to 1,070% in October amidst continued contraction of output.

Sources in the Ministry of Economic Development said another emergency economic plan is in the works and will be launched in January. The current National Economic Development Priority Program, which ends next month, failed to achieve objectives including bringing inflation under control and stabilizing the Zimbabwe dollar.

Two previous recovery blueprints - the Millennium Economic Recovery Plan of 2000 and the National Economic Revival Programme of 2003 - also failed to deliver.

The new plan will be in place before the IMF Board meets, but economist James Jowa of Harare said it was unlikely to make much difference to the country's IMF status.

More reports from VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe...