Zimbabwe stands to lose US$400 million over failure to contribute US$6 million

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By Anna Chibamu

ZIMBABWE risks losing millions in foreign aid over failure to contribute to a program run by international health financial basket the Global Fund towards the purchase of much needed anti-retro viral (ARVs) drugs, it has been learnt.

In an interview with Thursday, chairperson of the Child and Health Care committee on HIV and Aids Ruth Labode (MDC) said the government cannot afford to let the opportunity pass as the Global Fund deadline for the contribution will expire soon.

On Wednesday, Labode demanded a ministerial statement to Parliament over the issue from Finance Minister Mthuli Ncube over the matter.

“I would want to ask the Minister of Finance to come and give a Ministerial Statement in this House because Zimbabwe stands to lose part of the US$400 million that is coming for ARVs because we have failed to pay our own contribution which only comes to US$6 million. 

“We cannot afford to lose US$400 million because of US$6 million.  So, the minister must come and tell us the reason behind the non-payment,” said Labode.

Speaker of Parliament Jacob Mudenda agreed to the request by the legislator.

“I take note and in collaboration with Hon. Ziyambi, (the) Leader of Government Business, we will also activate that and make sure that the Hon. Minister of Finance and Economic Development reacts in terms of Ministerial Statement so that we can take advantage of that $400 million from the Global Fund,” said Mudenda.

The Global Fund has been one of the major contributors to the financing of Health programs in Zimbabwe and specifically the HIV/AIDS scourge.

Such programs have seen a marked decrease in the prevalence of the devastating condition with Zimbabwe being commended globally for managing to bring down its prevalence rate to between 13.5 and 14 percent from around 30% according to official statistics available.

Access to drugs by those in need has also increased due to program by international agencies such as the Global Fund.