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IMF Team Arrives in Zimbabwe for Consultations

International Monetary Fund (IMF) Managing Director Christine Lagarde
An International Monetary Fund (IMF) delegation arrived in Harare on Wednesday to assess progress made by the government in implementing the Staff Monitored Programme (SMP) and also seek ways to reduce Zimbabwe’s ballooning debt.

The IMF team is meeting officials from the Ministry of Finance, the central bank, Chamber of Mines and other economic sectors.

Harare and the IMF agreed on the SMP programme last year and was supposed to run from April to December 2013. But it has since been extended following disruptions during last year’s electoral period. The new Zanu-PF government also pleaded for more time to implement the program.

A SMP is an informal agreement between a country’s authorities and the fund to monitor the implementation of the country’s economic programme.

This, however, does not entail financial assistance or endorsement by the IMF executive board.

But Finance Minister Patrick Chinamasa has indicated that he will continue to push for IMF funding to try and reboot the tanking economy.

The SMP focuses on putting public finances on a sustainable course, while protecting investment and priority social spending, strengthening public finances, increasing diamond revenue transparency and reducing financial sector vulnerabilities and restructuring the central bank.

The IMF also wants Zimbabwe to tackle its expenditure on civil servants which account for more that 75 percent of the national budget.

Director Godfrey Kanyenze of the Labour and Economic Development Research Institute of Zimbabwe says the visit is significant for Zimbabwe.