New Zimbabwe.com

Govt re-engagement agenda spot on, says Agribank CEO

AGRIBANK has lauded government for seeking re-engagement with international financiers saying it would boost agricultural productivity and sustainability.

The bank’s chief executive Somkhosi Malaba told the Indigenisation thematic committee this Thursday that the last 15 years have been difficult for banks in terms of securing loans for agriculture.

“Over the past decade and a half, the country has not been able to access medium and long term financing from Multilateral Institutions such as the World Bank and the AfDB due to accumulated external payment arrears,” said Malaba.

“Development partners who had assisted in financing agriculture during the post-independence era, in particular small holder farmers, also scaled down financing.”

Finance minister Patrick Chinamasa, serving under former president Robert Mugabe, tried in vain to unlock international support.

Economic analysts and business found new home in President Emmerson Mnangagwa who is being viewed as a reformist basing on his call to the international community to give the country another chance and his commitment to creating a conducive economic climate.

“For this reason, the bank supports government’s call for engagement with the international community to clear external payment arrears, redress BIPPAS that may have been violated and attract foreign direct investment,” Malaba said.

“Once external arrears are cleared, the country can access medium to long term funding including for agriculture infrastructure development.”

Zimbabwe’s external debt increased three percent to $11, 3 billion last year, nearly 80 percent of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP), as a result of interest on arrears, latest Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) data shows.