New Zimbabwe finance minister wants to clear World Bank arrears

Prof Mthuli Ncube

HARARE (Reuters) – Zimbabwe’s new Finance Minister said on Monday he would accelerate the country’s plan to pay arrears to the World Bank and African Development Bank and would work on a three-year programme to bring down government expenditure.

Mthuli Ncube said that clearing $1.8 billion (1.39 billion pounds) in arrears to the African Development Bank and World Bank was important to Zimbabwe’ economic recovery.

Clearing the arrears is seen as a major step for the country to get onto an International Monetary Fund (IMF) programme.

“It’s one building block towards creating confidence in terms of investors investing in Zimbabwe,” Ncube told reporters after being sworn into office but did not give more details.

Ncube confirmed shortly after being sworn into office that he would look at whether to remove the quasi currency bond note as part of currency reforms that would be announced by the central bank governor in a monetary policy statement at the end of September.

“Ultimately we would like to have a Zimbabwe dollar that is stable, that we have confidence in and we will start working towards that and you will hear in the monetary policy statement the first steps towards that,” Ncube said.