Home » Sports » ZIMBABWE’S ECONOMY SEEN GROWING BY 3.7 PCT IN 2017

HARARE, The Zimbabwean economy is expected to grow by 3.7 per cent this year, mainly driven by good performance of the agriculture sector, says Finance and Economic Development Minister Patrick Chinamasa.

Last year, the economy grew 0.7 per cent against a target of 2.7 per cent, as a drought impacted on the performance.

Chinamasa told Parliament here Thursday that growth prospects for 2017 were very positive. "This follows a resounding agricultural season and partial rebound in international mineral prices," he told the National Assembly.

He said success of the government's "command agriculture" programme in the last summer cropping season would spiral benefits to the rest of the economy. As a result, the programme was being extended to other crops such as wheat and soya beans.

"Starting with the 2017/18 agricultural season, 'Command' maize, wheat, livestock, fisheries and wildlife will, therefore, be unveiled at a total cost of 334 million US dollars," he said.

Turning to the budget, Chinamasa said the government had last year over-spent against budgeted expenditure by 902 million USD. In the current year, it was anticipated the government would mobilize 3.7 billion USD in revenue.

Chinamasa said the government would continue to implement measures to reduce its wage bill, which remained unsustainably high at more than 3.2 billion USD last year. A wage-freeze, rationalization of allowances and foreign trips, among other measures, would continue to be implemented to address the wage bill.

The country's unbalanced trade also remained a major challenge as exports totalled 3.7 billion USD in 2016 while imports stood at 5.7 billion USD.

Chinamasa said a huge debt, amounting to 11.3 billion USD at the end of last year continued to impact on the country's ability to access cheaper funding from global financial institutions to invest in its infrastructure and other social amenities.

In line with its debt clearance program, Zimbabwe had paid about 107.9 million USD to the International Monetary Fund in October last year, he said.

"The next step entails resolving arrears to the other multilateral creditors, namely the African Development Bank, 642 million USD; the World Bank, 1.4 billion USD; the European Investment Bank, 294 million USD; and other multilateral institutions, as well as bilateral official creditors," he said.

Source: NAM NEWS NETWORK

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