Zimbabwe receives 400 mln dlrs in IMF support

Zimbabwe has received about 400 million dollars in support from the International Monetary Fund, the lender said Saturday, part of its broader effort to cushion the blows of the global economic crisis.

File photo shows a vendor selling sugar on the black market in the high density suburb of Mbare in Harare. (AFP Photo)

The support for Zimbabwe is a small part of the IMF's offering last month of so-called Special Drawing Rights (SDRs) equivalent to about 250 billion dollars provided to all of its 186 members.

"There is no conditionality on the use of this allocation," the IMF office in Pretoria said in a statement.

But the SDRs are not part of normal loan programmes, which put cash directly into state coffers, tied to strict conditions on its use.

To convert the SDRs into hard currency, Zimbabwe would have to find another country to buy them. Otherwise the money serves to bolster Harare's meagre foreign reserves.

The IMF support has already reignited tensions within the unity government between veteran President Robert Mugabe and his erstwhile rival Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai.

Controversial central bank governor and Mugabe loyalist Gideon Gono, who presided over the demise of the Zimbabwe dollar, has claimed control over the resources in state media.

But the IMF said the resources are actually controlled by the finance ministry, headed by Tsvangirai's top aide Tendai Biti, who declined to comment on the scheme.

An SDR is an interest-bearing IMF asset based on a basket of international currencies -- the dollar, yen, euro and pound -- that is calculated daily and which members can convert into other currencies.

Harare will not be allowed to receive a separate SDR allocation worth about 100 million dollars this month, because Zimbabwe still owes about 141 million dollars in arrears to the global lender, the IMF added.

Source: AFP

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