Zimcodd calls for external debt audit

HARARE - Zimbabwe Coalition on Debt and Development (Zimcodd) has called for the formation of a debt audit commission.

The lobby group said the commission will carry out an audit of the country’s huge external debt, which is currently hovering over $10 billion.

“We will support it as long as it will help in the alleviation (of) the suffering of Zimbabweans who are currently reeling under the massive debt,” Zimcodd chairperson Joy Mabhenge said.

He said the organisation was satisfied with the new constitution draft as far as it deals with debt management but concerned over the implementation.

“We are relatively satisfied with what Copac (a tripartite parliamentary committee charged with crafting the new constitution) has done so far,” he said.

“Section 17; of the draft talks about a framework for public borrowing and the principles of state indebtedness and state guarantees.

“We are happy with the watered-down executive powers because in the past experience have taught us how these powers can be abused,” Mabhenge said.

“There should be greater parliamentary participation in the accumulation of debt and Copac has done well to try and involve the legislature in the exercise of state power,” he said.

“As Zimcodd we are using the debt issue to raise awareness on the broader spectrum of social and economic justice to the generality of Zimbabweans.”

Mabhenge said Zimcodd would also be closely monitoring changes to be made to the Public Finance Management Act.

“Although we are happy with what is in the draft at the moment our worry is on the implementation or transition from constitution-making to constitutionalism. That has always been our problem and that is why we will be monitoring the amendments that are to be made to the enabling Act to see if it will support the framework that has been put in place by the new charter if it is adopted,” he said.

Mabhenge said the public finance framework incorporated into the final draft constitution, shows that the proposed draft has major improvements in terms of enhanced accountability, transparency and inclusiveness in the loan contraction and debt management process.

Economic analysts have also called on government to embark on a debt audit programme to ascertain the status of the country’s debt.

“There will be need for the formation of a public debt audit commission that deals with looking at the past debt to see if they are legitimate or “odious”.

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