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Zimbabwe Urged to Tackle Nagging Policy Inconsistencies

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Economists and political commentators say Zimbabwe should address policy inconsistencies and use abundant resources to revamp the ailing economy following a rejection of its request by the World Bank for debt relief under the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries initiative.

They say since the World Bank cannot issue new loans to Zimbabwe, the country should tackle head-on the controversial indigenization scheme and plug loopholes in all sectors to generate revenue for capital projects.

The black economic empowerment programme is said to be discouraging external investors who fear losing their majority stakes to local people. The law compels foreign owned companies to transfer 51 percent shares to locals.

At the same time, the economists and political commentators believe that Zimbabwe has the ability to embark on import substitution measures similar to those initiated by the Ian Smith regime before independence in 1980.

Economic commentator Masimba Kuchera of the Center for Disability and Development said Zimbabwe is capable of using its natural resources to pay debts and initiate new capital projects.

Zanu PF activist and political commentator Morris Ngwenya believes that the World Bank has a hidden agenda but will not stop Zimbabwe from paying its debts and transforming its economy.

The country owes the World Bank $1 billion and the international monetary fund about $124 million.