HARARE, Sept 30– Zimbabwe has managed to attain all targets set by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) by the end of June this year aimed at improving management of the economy, the multilateral institution says.

An IMF team was in the country in the last two weeks to conduct its final review of the Staff Monitored Programme (SMP) which began in 2013 as well as to discuss a successor SMP, which is an informal agreement for dialogue between the IMF and its member countries.

The Head of the IMF delegation, Domenico Fanizza, told journalists here Monday that the achievements by Zimbabwe were signs that the government “was serious about moving forward”.

“Zimbabwe has met all the targets and benchmarks that were set for the end of June,” Fanizza told the joint media conference with the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development. “This is a good move and is a sign that authorities are serious about moving forward.”

Some of the targets which had been set included balancing central government’s budget, directing “reasonable” expenditures on social sectors of the economy, creating “reasonable” levels of reserves and
putting a ceiling on new non-concessional debt contracted or guaranteed by the government.

Other structural targets included amending laws such as the Mines and Minerals Act, Public Debt Management Act, the Banking Act and the Reserve Bank Act.

However, Fanizza said the government needed to do a lot more to improve its financial discipline to unlock access to international finances and foreign direct investment (FDI).

Other areas, he said, would be dealt with in the successor SMP to be agreed between government and the IMF team but still required the green light from the IMF management. The target areas, Fanizza said, were clarifying the country’s indigenization and economic empowerment laws, eliminating the budget deficit by 2015 and restoring confidence in the financial sector through capitalizing the Reserve Bank and restoring its role as lender of last resort.

The successor SMP, if approved, would run for 15 months from October 2014 to December 2015.

Zimbabwe’s national economic revival has slowed down on the back of a sustained liquidity crunch due to a dearth of foreign direct investment and fresh capital flows.

Finance Minister Patrick Chinamasa, who lauded relations between the country and the IMF, said the government was equal to the task of solving the economic challenges. “The challenges are there but they are not insurmountable,” Chinamasa said, while stressing commitment to implement further reforms.

“We are working as a team in a manner that we have never done before. We are equal to the task of overcoming the challenges that our economy is facing,” he said.

While appealing to the IMF management to approve the agreed successor SMP, the finance minister said government would do more to create an enabling environment for business, attract investment, cut its huge
wage bill and address shortcomings in its tax management systems.

“We have moved mountains and we have walked many steps towards fulfilling commitment on the success of the SMP,” Chinamasa said.