Govt says to fulfil Global Fund part to avoid US$70 million loss

Zimbabwe's new finance minister said he would accelerate plans to pay arrears to the World Bank and the African Development Bank. Picture: Reuters/Philimon Bulawayo

FINANCE Minister Mthuli Ncube has pledged government’s commitment to pay the 5 percent requirement for the country to access aid channelled through Global Fund or risk losing over US$70 000 support towards the country’s struggling health system.

Ncube revealed this through a ministerial statement presented in parliament on his behalf by Justice Minister and leader of the house, Ziyambi Ziyambi this past week.

The Global Fund to fight HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria allocates additional resources in the form of grants to countries to support their national response.

As a condition of the grant, countries are required to contribute a minimum percentage of the value of the grant as counterpart financing depending on their rankings as low, middle or high income countries.

According to this policy, if a country fails to meet the counterpart financing obligation, the Global Fund shall reduce the value of the grant by 15%.

Zimbabwe is considered as a low income country and is required to contribute 5% of the value of the total grant as counterpart financing.

The current grant (2018-2020) is US$483 980512.00. Therefore, the minimum required counterpart financing is US$24 199 026.00 over the three year period.

In the past, this amount was covered by NAC contributions in the procurement of ARVs and other HIV/AIDS commodities.

The country, through NAC, had also committed to procuring 15% of the national requirements on ARVs.

However, because of foreign currency shortages and revaluing of the RTGs$, NAC has been failing to meet its commitment because its funds were in RTGs$.

“Currently, there is an unfunded gap for adult ARVs of US$6 674 206.00 for 2019 assuming that NAC has also contributed US$20 451 689.00,” said Minister Ncube.

He added, “Therefore, the country will require to mobilise forex amounting to US$20 451 689.00 for NAC supported procurements and US$6 674 206.00 for the unfunded gap.

“Otherwise the country risks losing 15% of US$483 980 512.00 (approximately US$72 597 077.00) which would put the country in a worse position. Therefore, the Government is going to pay US$6 million required as part of the 5% contribution.”

The country’s ailing health sector has been struggling to provide basic services to locals with public service doctors often going on strike citing government’s continued failure to avail basic medical kit and medicines for them to perform their duties.

President Emmerson Mnangagwa, his two deputies and several top government officials have often flown out for treatment outside the country, inviting wide criticism from locals who feel their leaders do not deserve better service than the rest as they were presiding over a dysfunctional system. – New Zim