Zimbabwe owes foreign grain suppliers $40m

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By Staff Reporter

AN international grain and fertiliser supplier has revealed that it is owed $40m by the Zimbabwe government but remains confident that the Harare administration will honour the obligation.

London-based Holbud Limited has supplied wheat, maize and fertiliser to Zimbabwe for some time.

Senior company executive, Roopak Bhadra, said they would continue to support Zimbabwe despite being owed millions of dollars by the country.

He was speaking to reporters in Beira Mozambique recently as Zimbabwe took delivery of some 30,000 tonnes of wheat secured from Germany.

The deal was facilitated by the Grain Millers Association of Zimbabwe.

“We are very positive about the present government and it is our hope that everything they owe us will be cleared whether there is change of government, or not,” said Bhadra.

“We have been dealing with the government for a long time now and, after all, what we are owed went to the general people of Zimbabwe.

“So, the government will not let us down by not paying for what benefited its citizens and that is very critical and also that is the end point.”

He added; “We have supplied maize in the 2015-2016 season for which some of the money is still pending but we hope that the government will pay shortly.

“We have also supplied some fertilizers which is still pending to be paid and some of the cargo is in Mozambique and we are expecting to release it once we get the payment.”

Zimbabwe has for years struggled to honour its international obligations due to acute foreign currency shortages.

The central bank has been rationing foreign currency, prioritising what it describes as critical imports.

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) estimates the country’s debt at about $11bln.

Once one of Africa’s most promising economies, Zimbabwe suffered decades of decline under former President Robert Mugabe and has been shut out of international capital markets since it began defaulting on its external debt in 1999.

In 2016, Harare paid off 15 years’ worth of arrears to the. It is still years behind on payments to the World Bank and African Development Bank, however, hampering its ability to tap development financing from the two.