Finance Minister, Mthuli Ncube

Zimbabwe happy with debt clearance process

THE government is satisfied with the progress it has made towards resolving its arrears as the country prepares to hold another high-level debt clearance meeting tomorrow, a cabinet minister has said.

Minister of Finance and Economic Development, Mthuli Ncube said this soon after a meeting of sector working groups in the capital on Thursday. President Emmerson Mnangagwa, African Development Bank president Akinumwi Adesina and former Mozambican President Joaquim Chisano are among high-ranking dignitaries expected to attend the meeting.

In 2022, Mnangagwa appointed Adesina and former Chissano as high-level facilitators of the country’s arrears clearance and debt resolution process.

The Thursday meeting brought together three sector working groups including two that had previously been established, namely the one on macroeconomic growth and stability and the one on governance reforms.

The third sector working group is on land tenure reforms, compensation of former farm owners and resolution of Bilateral Investment Promotion and Protection Agreements (BIPPAs). Ncube said the government was very optimistic that the process would bear fruits at the end.

“Today we had our fourth meeting which is preparing for the penultimate meeting on Monday, which will involve the principal… Mnangagwa, the president of the African Development Bank … Adesina, … Chissano and other technical support staff as well as creditors and the rest of government,” he said.

He said he was optimistic about the process since it brought all concerned stakeholders together including the Zimbabwe government and its creditors, who were represented by ambassadors of the respective countries. Ncube said the engagement was needed because it involved speaking to the creditors, who might find it difficult to continue supporting the country when there was no close relationship.

“Creating that closeness, narrowing the gap, building trust is critical and that’s what this pro[1]cess is all about,” he explained.

Turning to the recently launched gold backed digital tokens, Prof Ncube said their introduction was yet another way to mop up liquidity in the economy. He said the expectation was that citizens who wished to purchase them would use the local currency to buy them, which he said would go a long way in managing domestic liquidity.

“It’s a very positive thing as these digital coins are baked by physical gold in our vaults,” he said. “So it is a very solid instrument and anyone buying it should feel comfortable that it is a solid instrument that will preserve value, but for us policy makers that is a way to manage liquidity,” he said. — New Ziana

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