Former finance minister Tendai Biti has describe the International Monetary Fund (IMF) as a naïve and dishonest institution after it published a report forecasting a 7% growth in Zimbabwe’s economy.
He said the report can only be believed by a failing President Emmerson Mnangagwa administration hungry foa a remote success story.
This follows a press statement released by the IMF staff team led by Dhaneshwar Ghura which conducted a virtual staff visit with the Zimbabwe authorities during June 1-15, 2021 to discuss recent economic developments and the economic outlook.
The team then released a press statement saying that “an economic recovery is underway in 2021, with real GDP expected to grow by about 6 percent, reflecting a bumper agricultural output, increased energy production, and the resumption of greater manufacturing and construction activities,”
“The IMF press statement was naïve and dishonest. It reminded me of IMF reports that used to be issued in 2014/15/16 by an IMF chief known as Dominic Fanizer who later on left the IMF and joined the Development Bank,” Biti told online viewers during a policy dialogue organised by SAPES to discuss the recent IMF and World bank reports.
“Those reports were so dishonest and so dangerous they sounded been written and authored at the Zanu PF head office.”
“It looks like we are now back to that same level naivety by the IMF so we have group of people and I don’t think the lead economist has actually ever been to Zimbabwe so they conduct zoom interviews by zoom officials they conduct zoom interviews with Zimbabweans carefully selected by the local office which has been adding and abating this dishonest and suddenly they have become expects on Zimbabwe and they can write a report on Zimbabwe.”
Biti added: “This is typical of decades of IMF interventions on the African continent which has been consistent siding with autocrats, which has been consistent with siding and undermining democratic agenda.”
“If you trace the 70s, the 80s constantly there were writing reports oblivious to the atrocities of people like Emperor Bukasa, Sani Abacha stealing billions in Nigeria, various Ugandan governments from Milton Obote now Yoweri Kaguta Museveni who just by the way only last week goy a billions dollar loan from the IMF despite the atrocities and electoral disputes in Uganda.”
“So, it appears that the IMF particularly under the new managing director Georgina Christina, the regime at the IMF is naïve and dishonest.”
“So, we are back to the old day that there are desperate for success stories they will do anything legally and extra legally to prop up these regimes.”
Biti said the report is based on the assumptions around the 7% growth is a decent agricultural season, increase in output the energy sector, and an increase in the construction sector.
“Now let’s re-visit these three issues. Now agriculture plays an insignificant contribution to GDP; its own share of GDP has shrunk from a period where downstream agriculture used to contribute 35% of GDP,” he said.
“Agriculture now actually contributes 8% of GDP.”