HARARE – The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has said it intends to expedite the implementation of the impending Staff Monitored Programme (SMP) for Zimbabwe to augment government efforts to turn around the economy.
Last week, Zimbabwe and the IMF agreed on steps that will pave way for a Staff Monitored Programme (SMP), which entails the monitoring of Zimbabwe’s economic targets and policies by the financial institution.
Zimbabwe has previously undergone successful SMP’s between 2013 and 2015 and it is hoped that the successful completion of the impending SMP will help the country in its global re-engagement drive.
IMF managing director Christine Lagarde reaffirmed the institution’s eagerness to support Zimbabwe’s economic reform programme.
“First of all, I would like to reaffirm that we will be conducting a staff monitored program with Zimbabwe. And it is particularly appropriate that we do that expeditiously, given the hardship and the loss caused by the recent cyclone,” she told a press conference in Washington on the sidelines of the IMF spring meetings.
The SMP, which will be monitored on a quarterly basis, aims to implement a coherent set of policies that can facilitate a return to macroeconomic stability.
Successful implementation will assist in building a track record and also facilitate Zimbabwe’s re-engagement with the international community.
The policy agenda to be monitored under the SMP is anchored on Zimbabwe’s Transitional Stabilization Program and emphasizes fiscal consolidation, the elimination of central bank financing of the fiscal deficit and adoption of reforms that allow market forces to drive the effective functioning of foreign exchange and other financial markets.
Asked on the IMF’s views on the intended re-introduction of a new Zimbabwean currency within the next twelve months, Lagarde said the envisaged currency reforms should also incorporate the use of technologies to promote financial inclusion.
“The second point that I wanted to mention, which I believe can and will help Zimbabwe as well… given the current monetary and currency situation, if used in a smart way, I would hope that financial technologies can be deployed in order to include as many (people) as possible,” she said.
“And any knowledge, any best practices that we are aware of, we will certainly make them available in the course of the weeks to come.” – New Ziana