Top Economist Questions Use Of IMF Money On Highways, Mbudzi Interchange
A top economist, Gift Mugano, has questioned the government’s plans to use substantial amounts of money drawn from the nearly US$1 billion special drawing rights (SDR) from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for local projects.
The government has already revealed plans to allocate part of the US$961 million that was received from the IMF towards projects such as road construction.
It said part of the SDR funds would be used to facelift the Harare-Beitbridge Highway.
Under the plan, the government will deploy US$31 million over the next three years towards social programmes, with US$144 million targeted at rebuilding highways.
On Monday at the 2022 Parliament of Zimbabwe post-budget seminar, Mugano told MPs to scrutinise the budget and question all misplaced priorities by the government. He added:
Allocation of US$144 million which has already been reported to be fully drawn to support the Masvingo Road interchange development project (Mbudzi) and the Emergency Road Rehabilitation Programme raises questions on the seriousness of government in utilising scarce resources.
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Mugano said more money should have been allocated towards retooling and value-addition and beneficiation considering the central role of economic transformation in the NDS1.
He questioned the allocation of US$77 million towards vaccines saying the government claimed to have mobilised US$100 million well before the SDR funds were released to Zimbabwe.
Mugano urged the government to use local currency on local projects including the Agriculture Productive Social Protection Scheme for rural and peri-urban households where US$80 million was allocated.
The Mbudzi interchange project, which the government is prioritising, involves the expansion of the stretch along Simon Mazorodze Road in Harare at Mbudzi roundabout, to give it better capacity to accommodate high traffic volumes. The stretch, which lies at the road’s intersection with Chitungwiza Road, has recently been overwhelmed by traffic.
MPs are yet to pass the Finance Bill and the Appropriation Bill to do with the 2022 budget.