The Sunday Mail
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has backed Zimbabwe’s recent monetary policy, describing the framework as a ‘step in the right direction’.
The policy measures announced by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ), last month created an interbank exchange rate determinable by market forces of demand and supply of foreign currency and local RTGS dollars.
Addressing the media at an international press briefing last week, IMF spokesperson Mr Gerry Rice said the global financier’s preliminary assessment of Zimbabwe’s monetary policy statement was that Harare had struck the rights chords.
“Our initial evaluation of that which has been announced by the Zimbabwean authorities recently is that it’s a step in the right direction to address distortions.
“Its success, of course, the currency reforms’ success, will depend on the implementation of an effective overall monetary policy framework supported by market-determined interest and exchange rates, together with prudent fiscal policies.”
Mr Rice said the IMF was “engaged with them (Zimbabwe Government) on how we can help them as much as possible.” With regard to the Transitional Stabilisation Programme (TSP), which is Government blueprint for economic reform, Mr Rice the IMF was fully behind the TSP.
“We continue to have discussions with the authorities to assist them in implementing the economic reforms contained in their transitional stabilization program, which… is a wide ranging stabilization and reform program aimed at addressing what is clearly a deep macroeconomic imbalance challenge, as well as a broader set of social and economic challenges.
“We are engaged. The discussions are certainly continuing.”
Mr Rice said while the IMF currently did not have a financing programme for Zimbabwe, it was “looking to be as supportive as it can” to the country.
The IMF spokesperson also revealed that Finance Minister Professor Mthuli Ncube, who was in the United States last week met IMF managing head Christine Lagarde and briefed her on Zimbabwe’s ongoing economic reforms.
Zimbabwe cleared its arrears with the IMF in October 2016, after paying US$108 million.
The Southern African country had been in arrears with the IMF since 2001.
The country however does not qualify for financial programme from the IMF owing to the pari-passu rule which requires that Zimbabwe to settle its commitments with other global financiers such as the World Bank and the African Development Bank.