Zimbabwe needs 45 bln USD to restore economy: minister

HARARE, Aug 04, 2009 (Xinhua via COMTEX)

  • Zimbabwe needs at least 45 billion U. S. dollars to rebuild its economy in the next 10 years and get it to levels it was in 1996 before the economy started to shrink, Finance Minister Tendai Biti has said.

Addressing delegates at the launch of the Government Development Forum (GDF) on Monday, Biti acknowledged it was impossible to get such a "frightening" amount in the aftermath of the global financial crisis, New Ziana reported on Tuesday.

"An in depth study we have done at the Ministry of Finance shows that we actually require 45 billion U.S. dollars up to the year 2019 to get our economy to where it was in 1996," he said, adding this was the reason why the government had decided to work with a conservative figure of eight billion dollars for the next three years.

The finance minister said the government wanted to move away from consumptive to transformative aid to help the country rebuild its shattered economy. A lot of work was required to restore power and water supplies, rehabilitate roads, railway infrastructure and improve social services.

Biti, who is also the chairman of the inclusive government's multi donor trust fund (MDTF), said proper aid coordination would enable the government to address challenges in critical sectors of the economy.

In line with this, the government had launched the National Aid Coordination Policy to ensure aid reached targeted areas.

He said the inclusive government was also working to strengthen its financial systems to improve transparency and accountability. "We want to move to a regime where you trust us to give us budgetary support (instead of aid)," he said.

To enhance financial accountability in the government, the minister said measures were being taken to restructure the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe and the Auditor and Comptroller General's Office.

The Auditor's office is currently housed under the Ministry of Finance, making it difficult to properly audit government, he said.

The GDF is a dialogue round-table where the government and its various development partners meet once a month to discuss funding for various government projects.

Chaired by Regional Integration and International Cooperation Ministry, the forum will be a platform for government-donor coordination.