THE International Monetary Fund (IMF) will not be loosening its purse-strings for Zimbabwe any time soon, treasury chief Patrick Chinamasa revealed as he returned from meetings with the institution in the US.
"We still owe them money, and because of that they have put us under the staff monitored programme and they will not be giving us fresh money or new concessionary loans until we complete that programme," Chinamasa said.
The IMF stripped Harare of its voting rights in 2003 and nearly ejected the country in a rare move for the Washington-based institution in 2006. The restrictions were imposed after Zimbabwe fell behind in repayments to the Fund.
But in June, ahead of fresh elections, the organisation said it would work with the country for the first time in more than a decade although ruling out new cash advances.
IMF managing director, Christine Lagarde, announced a Staff Monitoring Programme (SMP) for the country adding its successful implementation "would be an important stepping stone toward helping Zimbabwe re-engage with the international community."
Following his appointment as Finance Minister after the June 31 elections, Chinamasa said he would stick with the plan proposed by the IMF which is not a particular favourite of his boss, President Robert Mugabe.
The minister said he had urged a new approach for Zimbabwe during meetings with the IMF and other organisations in Washington.
"I held a number of meetings with the IMF, World Bank, the African Development Bank, African Export Import Bank, International Finance Corporation in Washington where I emphasised that the one size fits all solution has left Zimbabwe at a standstill position," he said.
"I told them that unless they give us new money there will be no growth and no capacity to pay them. We need new investments in the country to boost our economy and capacity to pay them."
While the former coalition administration managed to stop run-away inflation and stabilise the economy, little progress has been made in forcing meaningful recovery and growth with companies hamstrung by liquidity problems among a host of challenges.
Zimbabwe's huge debt pile is also said to be preventing the country from tapping external financing.
According to the IMF, the country's external debt reached $12.5 billion in 2012with nearly half of the obligations, about $6.7 billion, in arrears.