CZI Calls On Govt To Negotiate Debt Forgiveness

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By Alois Vinga

THE Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries (CZI) has called on the government to expedite national debts forgiveness and cancellations amid concerns that the country is incapacitated to raise adequate resources to bridge the gap.

Speaking to Business on the sidelines of the ongoing Zimbabwe Public Debt Indaba which kicked off Tuesday, CZI President Kurai Matsheza said the challenge of Zimbabwe’s debt crisis has its origins in the late 1990s thereby choking industrial growth for decades.

“It is a very serious issue. It means you cannot access any more funding in that form whatever you have got to do has to be donor funded or supported by your own resources which as you know is a very difficult position.

“I certainly believe that at the level of debt that we have it will be very difficult to raise the money to clear that debt. We therefore have to engage for forgiveness and right off meaning the HIPIC route must be followed,” he said.

The remarks come at a time when the country’s total debt is estimated to be hovering close to US$20 billion owed to both the local market and the external sources.

“What worsens the current debt clearance strategies is that we continue to miss the targets and our analysis of the agreement entered into by the government and former white commercial farmers, which is of course subject to government confirmation, shows that Zimbabwe has to date failed to pay the US$1,7 billion which should have been settled by now,” he said.

Matsheza called for the acceleration of the engagement process saying it may yield something for the government.

Last week, the International Monetary Fund noted that Zimbabwe remains in debt distress, with large external arrears to official creditors.

They welcomed the authorities’ commitment to re-engage with external creditors, including by resuming token payments and preparing a debt resolution strategy.

The Bretton Woods institution also encouraged further efforts to enhance debt management and transparency.