AN International Monetary Fund (IMF) team is expected in Zimbabwe within the next three months to revive the Staff Monitored Programme (SMP), Finance and Economic Development minister Mthuli Ncube has said.
The Treasury boss said the IMF’s visit was part of a broader international reengagement drive announced by President Emmerson Mnangagwa in 2017.
In an interview this week with Zimbabwe Mail, Professor Ncube said forging ties with IFIs, especially the IMF, topped his agenda.
“To kick start the engagement process, an IMF Staff Visit Mission is expected in the second quarter, followed by an Article IV Mission in the third quarter,” the minister said.
“All things being equal an SMP should be concluded in early 2022. The government has already made significant progress in stabilising the economy through the various economic reforms implemented under the Transitional Stabilisation Programme (TSP). The implementation of these critical reforms will be further strengthened during the NDS1 (National Development Strategy 1) period.”
The NDS1 blueprint replaced TSP this January, and will be running until 2025.
An SMP is an informal agreement between country authorities and the IMF’s staff to monitor implementation of economic programmes.
However, SMPs do not entail financial assistance or endorsement by the IMF’s executive board.
The Finance minister said the re-engagement programme was part of key targets under NDS 1, where the government has undertaken to clear debts of up to US$8 billion to various lenders including the Paris Club, the African Development Bank and the World Bank.
Professor Ncube said: “Government, through implementation of the Transitional Stabilisation Programme (TSP), has delivered budget surpluses in 2019 and 2020, managed to stabilise the local currency and expeditiously rolled out the devolution policy, among other structural issues.
“In order to close the gap between average incomes and the cost of goods and services, a number of initiatives have been taken aboard.”
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