IMF policies under fire

An umbrella body for non-governmental organisations, the National Association of Non-Governmental Organisations (NANGO) said on Tuesday the IMF recommendation to Zimbabwe to privatise its social services had impacted negatively on efforts to uplift the living standards of people.

“We are opposed to some IMF polices such as privatisation of basic social services,” NANGO advocacy and communications manager, Fambai Ngirande said.

“We know it from the past that some IMF policies have worked against people in this country. They have affected the social services sector and their polices are anti-people and negative.”

Ngirande spoke ahead of the civil society’s consultative meeting with an IMF team under Article IV of the Fund’s Articles of Agreement later on Tuesday.

He said some of the IMF instigated polices which had brought suffering to the people were the Economic Structural Adjustment Programme (ESAP) and Zimbabwe Programme for Economic and Social Transformation (ZIMPREST).

Ngirande said the government should be allowed to reserve the right to determine public policies that benefit its people, adding however that the country needs external support to address some of its economic challenges.

“There is no way Zimbabwe can go it alone given the humanitarian crisis it is facing. We need the support of IMF,” he said.

The NANGO official added that the IMF should consider cancelling Zimbabwe’s debt so that it can use the meagre resources it generates to solve its challenges rather than pay debts.

He said the withdrawal of foreign funding to Zimbabwe should justify its exemption from repaying IMF and the World Bank’s debts.

Meanwhile, the civil society was set to discuss such issues as the impact of the IMF policies and sanctions on people’s living standards, food situation and assistance, consequences of the clean up campaign, the situation in agriculture and the impact of new land evictions and issuance of 99-year leases.

The government recently issued 99-year leases to farmers to enable them secure loans from financial institutions and boost agricultural production.

The IMF team arrived in the country two weeks ago for its routine consultations with various stakeholders in the country.

It has so far met government and central bank officials among other stakeholders. ‘ New Ziana.

December 2006
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