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Chinamasa Says China Pressing Zimbabwe to Pay Loans

Zimbabwe's Justice Minster Patrick Chinamasa says the country has had to pay millions of dollars to keep Chinese creditors at bay.

Finance Minister Patrick Chinamasa says China is exerting pressure on Harare to pay up its loans or risk being cut out.

Chinamasa told business leaders in Harare on Wednesday that Zimbabwe has had to pay millions of dollars to keep Chinese creditors at bay. Chinamasa said “in the first six months of this year we have had to cough up $180 million, which was not in the budget, just to make ourselves look good.”

Zimbabwe’s external debt stands at about $9 billion. China alone is believed to have loaned Zimbabwe one billion dollars.

Last month, President Robert Mugabe made his thirteenth trip to China since independence and claimed that Beijing and Harare had signed more than 12 mega deals with China that will see the Asian nation bankrolling infrastructure development in the country.

Businessman and MDC-T Bulawayo South Member of Parliament, Eddie Cross, said China is reluctant to deal with Zimbabwe because it is a political liability.

“Why spend money on a failed state who can never pay back?” asked Cross.

Opposition leaders, MDC-T Morgan Tsvangirai, MDC Renewal Team leader Tendai Biti, Mavambo Kusile/Dawn party leader Simba Makoni and the National Constitutional Assembly’s Lovemore Madhuku have united in pouring water on Zanu-PFs claims that China will bail out Harare economically.

Economist Godfrey Kanyenze director of the Labour and Economic Development Research Institute told VOA Studio 7 that the Chinese move is not surprising as they are in business.