Saturday, February 27, 2010

(TALKZIMBABWE) Acknowledge sanctions first before rescheduling debt: DPM

Acknowledge sanctions first before rescheduling debt: DPM
TH/TZG
Sat, 27 Feb 2010 11:28:00 +0000

COUNTRIES and organisations willing to assist Zimbabwe settle its international debt should first publicly acknowledge that the nation is under ruinous illegal sanctions that are dampening development, Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara said yesterday.

Addressing journalists at his Munhumutapa offices in Harare, DPM Mutambara said anyone willing to discuss the issue of debt rescheduling should first acknowledge devastating effects of the sanctions.

"There will be no debt strategy in the country that does not recognise that Zimbabwe is under illegal sanctions hence the international community must acknowledge publicly their effects.

"Those willing to help us in coming up with a debt strategy must first of all publicly acknowledge that Zimbabwe is under illegal sanctions.

"You cannot address Zimbabwe’s debt without acknowledging that Zimbabwe is under illegal sanctions," he said.

DPM Mutambara said the international community should not lecture Zimbabwe on the way forward but engage the country as an equal partner.

"We are clear on what we want as a country and Government cannot be taught anything by the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank and the African Development Bank.

"Government has set up an inter-ministerial committee on debt strategy that is looking at different strategies on managing the country’s debt.

"Zimbabwe has enough brains and needs not be lectured to on debt restructuring, but engaged as partners," he said.

DPM Mutambara, who chairs the committee on debt management, said they were grappling with the advantages and disadvantages of the traditional methods of debt repayment, including the possibility of resource pledging.

"We welcome the restoration of voting rights but we are also sceptical.

"We want America and Europe to remove the sanctions they imposed on the country in the same manner they allowed their board members at the IMF to restore our voting rights.

"The reasons why our rights were restored are the same reasons why the illegal sanctions must be removed.

"We are not children in Zimbabwe. We don’t want the sanctions to be removed in a calibrated manner as a reward for progress but in totality.

"Anyone who speaks on national debt without talking of the country resource base and the illegal sanctions is not being sensible at all.

"The debt strategy should also address the issue of removal of sanctions," DPM Mutambara said.

He said no minister must speak on behalf of Government on debt repayment as Cabinet was still to agree on the best possible way of dealing with the matter.

He said the level of engagement with AfDB and the international committee would take cognisance of Cabinet’s position and will include the efficacy of debt repayment and the illegal sanctions.

DPM Mutambara said Cabinet would discuss debt management next week after which a national position would be taken.

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