IMF expected to restore Zimbabwe’s voting rights

2010-02-19 10:47

THE International Monetary Fund may restore Zimbabwe’s voting

rights as early as today, nearly seven years after the southern African nation

was suspended over financial arrears, an IMF spokesperson said.

“The executive board is scheduled to discuss a request for the

restoration of the voting rights and thus the eligibility to use general

resources, ordinary resources, tomorrow (today),” spokesperson David Hawley told

reporters yesterday at the IMF’s headquarters in the US capital

Washington.

Zimbabwe, whose economy was devastated under the administration of

President Robert Mugabe, was nearly thrown out of the IMF in 2006 after the

impoverished country failed to pay its financial obligations amid a humanitarian

crisis and hyperinflation.

The restoration of Zimbabwe’s voting rights appeared highly likely

because the board usually is convened for a vote only when the majority mandated

by the fund’s statutes is guaranteed.

The IMF executive board is comprised of 24 representatives of

countries or group of countries.

The US, the only member of the 186-country institution that can

block decisions in the executive board, had been considered the major

roadblock.

But in late January, Charles Ray, the US ambassador to Harare,

Zimbabwe capital, said his country supported restoring Zimbabwe’s voting

rights.

The IMF welcomed the formation of a unity government in Zimbabwe in

November last year and three months later resumed technical assistance in

exchange for the government’s promise to begin quarterly payments of $100 000

(about R762 000) to clear up the arrears.

Zimbabwe’s back payments stood at $140 million at the end of 2009,

Hawley said, noting they must be fully paid before an IMF loan to the country

could be considered.

 

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