By Alois Vinga
ZIMBABWE has so far withdrawn a whooping US$311 million from the International Monetary Fund’s Special Drawing Rights (SDRs) with a huge chunk channeled towards procurement of Covid 19 related needs.
The funds were drawn down from the equivalent of US$958 million extended by the Bretton Woods institution as part of the US$650 billion distributed to its members.
The gesture was the largest-ever distribution of monetary reserves to provide additional liquidity for the global economy, supplementing member countries’ foreign exchange reserves and reducing their reliance on more expensive domestic or external debt.
The funds were disbursed in the wake of the ravaging impact of the Covid 19 pandemic, which reversed decades old economic gains the world over.
But in an update Friday, which came amid a growing outcry by Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) and other good corporate governance activists, Finance Minister, Mthuli Ncube, revealed that a significant chunk of the fund has been spent.
“The funds will be used prudently with accountability and transparency to support projects in social sectors namely health, education, and the vulnerable groups among others. To date, an amount of US$311 million was disbursed up to June 2022,” he said.
The treasury boss said part of the funds went towards the procurement of Covid 19 vaccines at US$71 million, vaccine roll out programme US$6 million, procurement of Covid 19 related medical testing equipment US$10 million.
Another chunk went towards support for agricultural productive social protection schemes for rural and peri-urban households US$80 million, and support to the Road Development Programme – Harare Beitbridge Road, Masvingo Road Interchange Development Project and the Emergency Road Rehabilitation Programme (ERRP) at a cost of US$144 million.
In the second half, expected SDR disbursements of US$145 million have been set aside for expenditure in health education, infrastructure and economic productivity stimulation activities.
“Another drawdown of US$155 million will be made towards acquisition of fertilisers and support for productive social protection programmes. This implies a total draw down of US$300 million in the second half of 2022,” added Ncube.