By Alois Vinga
ZIMBABWE has deferred the first repayment instalment to commercial farmers by one more year, attributing the move to delayed processes due to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Under the global compensation agreement (GCA) reached last year, the government made a commitment to compensate ex-commercial farmers for improvements undertaken on the land before losing it under the Fast Track Land Reform exercise initiated at the turn of the millennium.
The first instalment of US$3,5 billion was due for payment at the end of this month.
In an update Tuesday, Finance Minister, Mthuli Ncube said the appointment of financial advisors to oversee the process as enunciated in the GCA took longer than anticipated.
“The longer than had been anticipated period for the appointment of financial advisors alluded to the above and the Covid-19 pandemic slowed down the resource mobilisation process. The parties to the GCD therefore agreed to extend the period for the first payment from July 31 2020 to July 2021,” he said.
The treasury boss also announced the appointment of United Kingdom based Newstate Partners as financial advisors to the agreement with effect from April 2021.
He said the financial advisors have already commenced work with the JMRC (Joint Resource Mobilisation Committee) supporting its capital-raising efforts.
Ncube said the Newstate Partners have tabled funding options that include bonds issued domestically (both listed and unlisted), bonds issued into international markets (both listed and unlisted); and listed and unlisted equity and quasi type instruments.
The former commercial farmers last month received their first pay cheque of US$1 million in the form of a dividend for the 12,5 percent equity the Government gave them in Kuvimba Mining House which they described as a only a tiny fraction of the finances required to pay off the full compensation amount.
However anonymous sources privy to the developments told NewZimbabwe.com government is struggling to raise the funds as it battles to vaccinate citizens, an objective which has become a top priority at the moment.