GOVERNMENT says it is failing to access international financial aid necessary in mitigating the social and economic effects of the Covid-19 pandemic because of sanctions imposed on Zimbabwe by Western powers, saying inter-governmental and private institutions are reluctant to assist the impoverished country.
Finance minister Mthuli Ncube wrote to the International Monetary Fund, World Bank and African Development Bank in April, pleading for financial assistance, but the organisations spurned the request, saying no financial help will be extended to Harare until satisfactory reforms are implemented.
He had, in his plea, argued the money was urgently needed to save Zimbabwe from total collapse as the pandemic exacerbates an already crumbling economy and that the money was urgently needed to avert a monumental humanitarian catastrophe.
In an interview with the Zimbabwe Independent on Wednesday this week, Foreign Affairs and International Trade minister Sibusiso Busi Moyo said government has had to fight the pandemic with meagre resources as it is being discriminated against because of sanctions.
Moyo’s claims come at a time Covid-19 cases and related deaths are soaring on a daily basis.
The coronavirus has claimed its most high-profile victim in the country, Lands, Agriculture, Water and Climate minister Perrance Shiri, who succumbed in the wee hours of Wednesday morning after contracting the respiratory infection.
Moyo said the country has had to turn to equally stricken regional power, South Africa – the continent’s hardest-hit country – for help.
“The government notes with appreciation that after realising that Zimbabwe was being discriminated against and selectively excluded from international assistance to fight the Covid-19 pandemic due to the unwarranted heinous sanctions, South Africa recently donated to the Government protective personal equipment and test kits on July 20, 2020. The Government is forever grateful for such a gesture, which goes a long way to mitigate the situation and help the response strategy that has been constrained by inadequate resources,” Moyo said in response to questions sent to him via email.
“South Africa, as Chair of the African Union, has also been lobbying by underscoring the need for the West to unconditionally lift sanctions against Zimbabwe and allow the country to freely interact with the rest of the international community. This is in line with the Sadc resolutions which declared October 25, the antisanctions day. These initiatives all speak to the Government’s re-engagement efforts aimed at positioning back Zimbabwe to its former glory within the community of nations,” he said.
The government’s cries come at a time the IMF on Monday announced it had approved a US$4,3 billion emergency support package for South Africa to address the Covid-19 pandemic.
Pretoria had also appealed to the IMF for a bailout to help it to meet the urgent balance of payment needs stemming from the disease outbreak.