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Zimbabwe Defies IMF Programme, Hires 10,000 Workers

Zimbabwe owes the International Monetary Fund and other international finance institutions millions of dollars.
Economists are warning the government that it will further strain relations with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) after details emerged Wednesday that Harare recruited more than 10,000 civil servants in defiance of IMF recommendations under the Staff Monitored Programme (SMP).

A report from the IMF team that was in Harare in November indicates that between March and September last year, thousands of workers had been recruited. Labour Minister Nichoals Goche told Studio 7 he could comment as he had not yet seen the IMF report.

Finance Minister Patrick Chinamasa could not be reached for comment as his mobile phone was unreachable.

The SMP for Zimbabwe covers the period April to December 2013. It 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. The IMF is on record as saying Zimbabwe must first clear its arrears of more than $6 billion before asking for more funds.

The IMF is also projecting that the country’s economy will grow by about 4.8 percent and not 6.1 percent as Finance Minister Patrick Chinamasa focast in his 2014 budget.

Economist Godfrey Kanyenze, director of the Labour and Economic Development Research Institute, said the IMF and government focast are off the mark as he expects the economy to grow by only three percent.

But economist Eric Bloch said the IMF growth focast is spot on.