Time to take SMP seriously

HARARE - Zimbabwe must take seriously the International Monetary Fund (IMF) administered Staff Monitoring Programme (SMP) if the country entertains any hopes of getting external funding and improving its high credit risk status.

The IMF this week indicated that the southern African country missed out on a number of quantitative targets and structural benchmarks such as improving the quality of public expenditures, enhancing financial sector stability and addressing the 2014 fiscal gap.

This is now the second time in a row since last year that we have missed the SMP targets which we set out for ourselves. And we sincerely hope that Finance minister Patrick Chinamasa and his team will immediately begin implementing the SMP so that we can move forward as a country.

This is key because without this, we cannot resolve the Zimbabwe debt problem of almost 110 percent of gross domestic product. Once we succeed to meet the SMP targets, it may persuade creditors to borrow us money.

The IMF has been patient with us and agreed — on two consecutive occasions — to extend the programme, arguing that progress in implementing the SMP was slowed by a long electoral process and a protracted post-election transition, as well as an adverse external environment.

However, almost a year now after the controversial July 31 elections, we are running out of excuses and the Zanu PF-led government must now begin to implement critical economic policies that can help the economy to turnaround.

The indigenisation policy has greatly hampered the smooth flow of foreign direct investment (FDI) into Zimbabwe as evidenced by the paltry $410 million the country received last year when nearly $60 billion was injected into Africa.

We are not the only country in the world that is in need of FDI. Our neighbours, Mozambique, South Africa, Botswana and Zambia have been doing everything in their powers to attract as much FDI as possible while we are busy pushing investors away with the controversial indigenisation policy.

If our leaders are serious about reviving the country’s waning fortunes — as they want us to believe they are –— then the Indigenisation Act must be immediately amended to create employment and boost revenue base.

Government must also ensure that private players in the energy and infrastructure sectors are adequately supported so that industry and domestic users have access to uninterrupted power and water to increase industrial capacity production.

Farmers and informal sector players also need to be encouraged to produce more through the unveiling of cheap funds and a more conducive business environment.

Comments (3)

It is a hopeless dream to think that our government is serious about reviving the country's faltering economy.This FDI thing is far from their minds given that they won the July 31 election albeit controversially.

SIBILI - 10 July 2014

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we do it - 10 July 2014

The government should be serious as they should work to revive the economy. Their contribution will benefit the majority given that the people are struggling.

peter - 10 July 2014

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