One giant step as Zimbabwe pays off debt to the IMF

By ANA and News24Wire
Zimbabwe has finally paid off its 16-year debt to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) as part of its arrears clearance strategy with multilateral institutions.
According to a statement released by IMF director of communications Gerry Rice on Friday, Zimbabwe settled its financial obligations on Thursday.
“On October 20, 2016, Zimbabwe settled its overdue financial obligations to the Poverty Reduction and Growth Trust of the IMF. Zimbabwe had been in continuous arrears since 2001.” The amount paid was about $107.9m.
“Zimbabwe is now current on all its financial obligations to the IMF,” said the fund.
Zimbabwe is in arrears on most of its external official debt.
Last year at the annual IMF and World Bank meetings in Lima, Zimbabwe and its preferred creditors came to a consensus that the country had to clear its $1.8bn arrears for re-engagement and financial support talks to begin.
Meanwhile Zimbabwe has been given two months to pay its bills for power from South African power utility Eskom and Mozambique’s Hydro Cahora Bassa (HCB).
Zimbabwe imports at least 30 percent of its power and owes Eskom about R250 million and HCB about R126 million.
Julian Chinembiri, managing director of the Zimbabwe Electricity Transmission and Distribution Company (ZETDC), said this week that arrears were mounting.
He told the newspapers in Harare that both power suppliers had given Zimbabwe a “grace period” to clear arrears.
“Eskom gave us up to December 2016 while HCB gave us up to the end of November to clear the arrears. At the moment we are enjoying stable power supply and we would want to keep supplies as they are and ensure that load shedding does not occur,” he said.
“We have prepayment arrangements with Eskom and HCB.”
Zimbabwe imports about 350 megawatts (MW) of electricity from Eskom and 50MW from HCB. It also generates power from a bank of diesel generators which several Harare newspapers claim is owned by the family of President Robert Mugabe’s son-in-law, Simba Chikore, who was recently appointed to the number two spot in bankrupt Air Zimbabwe.

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