Harare – Zimbabwe will stick to an International Monetary Fund (IMF) monitoring programme that could pave way for the country to clear its debts, as the economy grapples with chronic power cuts and a crippled manufacturing sector, Patrick Chinamasa, the finance minister, has said.
Zimbabwe is still emerging from a decade of economic decline and hyperinflation.
Harare began an International Monetary Fund-led staff-monitored programme in June which, if successful, could help it clear $10b in external debts and give it access to new credit from international lenders.
Under the programme, which is set to run until December, it is expected to implement a raft of economic reforms.
“We are committed to the programme,” Chinamasa said.
He said he will travel to Washington this weekend to assure IMF officials there that Harare will continue with programme.
Zimbabweans have experienced electricity blackouts lasting up to 16 hours a day in recent weeks, which state-owned power utility ZESA attributes to maintenance work on its ageing power generating plants. Zimbabwe has a peak demand of 2,200MW of electricity, but only has a supply of 1,167MW, including imports from Mozambique.
The electricity crunch has hit the manufacturing and agriculture sectors, where output has fallen sharply.