IMF retains sanctions on Zimbabwe

The International Monetary Fund has said it will keep in place sanctions on Zimbabwe because of money it is still owed and urged Harare to implement reforms to stabilise its economy.

    Zimbabwe's economy is in ruins and 70% of people are jobless

    The IMF executive board acknowledged on Wednesday that Zimbabwe had settled its General Resources Account (GRA) when it made a $9 million payment which helped the southern African nation retain its IMF membership.
    However, the board said Zimbabwe has owed about $119 million to the fund's Poverty Reduction and Growth Facility Exogenous Shocks Facility Trust Fund since February 2001.
    In a statement the IMF board urged Harare "to continue its efforts to resolve the remaining overdue financial obligations". It said that Zimbabwe's voting rights at the fund will remain suspended.
    Another review of Zimbabwe's obligations will take place within six months, it said.

    IMF call
    At the same time, the IMF said that Zimbabwe's dire economic state "calls for urgent implementation of a comprehensive policy package comprising several mutually reinforcing actions in the area of macroeconomic stabilisation and structural reforms".

    The body had threatened to expel Zimbabwe from its ranks for failing to repay loans since 2001, but a series of surprise payments made since last September averted such action.
    Zimbabwe's economy is characterised by runaway inflation, soaring poverty, 70% unemployment and severe shortages of fuel and staple foods.
    Earlier this week Herbert Murerwa, the Zimbabwean finance minister, said he hoped for more financial aid from the IMF in meetings in Washington the week.
    "Although our voting rights have now been restored, we need technical assistance and financial assistance," Murerwa said.
    "We know this will not be automatically restored but this is something we hope to negotiate."



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