Golden Sibanda Senior Business Reporter
GOVERNMENT is seeking expedited approval of project funding amounting to US$30,7 million for three key initiatives currently being evaluated by the African Development Bank (AfDB), Finance Minister Mthuli Ncube has said.
This comes as Zimbabwe, the minister said, is seeking the extension of the mandate of the four-year Zimbabwe Multi-donor Trust Fund (ZimFund), which expires in October by a further one year to enable completion of project activities.
In 2010, a group of donors, came together in a bid to support priority recovery activities of the Government of Zimbabwe, and as a result decided to create the Zimbabwe Multi-Donor Trust Fund (the ZimFund), as a successor to the Zimbabwe Programmatic Multi-Donor Trust Fund (Zim-MDTF).
Minister Ncube said Government was awaiting approval under African Development Fund (ADF) 14 of three projects namely the US$27,3 million Zimbabwe-Zambia-Botswana interconnector regional power project, US$2 million for the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (Zimra) tax management system and AfDB contribution to Batoka George hydro power project of US$1,4 million.
“To this end, the Government is urging the bank, to expedite the approval of the above pipeline projects, which are due to be tabled before the board in 2019,” Professor Ncube said.
The Finance Minister made the plea during the AfDB’s annual meetings held in Malabo, Equatorial Guinea from June 11-14, 2019. This also comes, the minister indicated, as the Government is working on a policy to improve management and accountability of development partner finances.
As such, the finance minister said Government was developing a Development Co-operation
Policy and the Procedures Manual to guide engagement with development partners as well as use of external support funds.
He also said Government was in the process of procuring and installing an aid information management system (AIMS) for better management and accountability of external resources, a process he said had already been initiated.
“To this end, we welcome valuable comments provided by the bank on our Development Co-operation policy.
“These interventions are reflective of the level of Government commitment to improve performance of development partner-funded projects in order to maximise value of money,” Minister Mthuli said.
He said Government has been working closely with implementing entities to ensure that steering and technical committees meetings are held regularly as stated in the protocols of agreements.
The minister said Government continued to review internal processes that delay movement of communication with the intention of eliminating bureaucracy while quarterly and annual
audit reports are being timeously submitted.
Minister Ncube said the ZimFund, which was managed by AfDB, had seen massive improvement in power, water and sanitation projects with state of the art equipment being installed.
This impact, he said, was witnessed by former AfDB executive director Dr Heinrich Gaomab when he visited Zimbabwe in the first quarter of this year.
The treasury chief said Government was committed to implementation of all AfDB and other development partner-funded projects as evidenced by the improved progress of all projects supported under the African Development Fund.
“We pledge our support to continue instituting measures that delivery on development partners’ funded programmes such as measures to clarify issues pertaining to separation of bank accounts and floating exchange rate.
“This has enhanced access to foreign currency by our partners and enabled store of value of their funds,” he said.