Mthuli Coy On Chinese Bilateral Support Figures
Finance and Economic Development Minister, Mthuli Ncube is yet to provide a detailed chronology of bilateral support initiatives with actual monetary values the government of Zimbabwe received from China this year following a wide variance between the figures he provided during the 2020 National Budget with those the Chinese Embassy issued thereafter.
In his presentation, Ncube said Chinese support to Zimbabwe between the period January and September 2019 amounted to US$ 3.631.500, a figure the Chinese Embassy refuted and placed at US$ 136.8 million
In a statement issued yesterday, the Finance Minister said the government of Zimbabwe and the Chinese Embassy reached an agreement on the facts and figures contained in the 2020 fiscal statement, however, without stressing the mutually agreed figure.
“The two sides have reached an agreement on the facts and figures contained in the Statement issued by the Embassy on the 19th of November 2019 and the 2020 National Budget Statement. The two sides agreed to continue working on a common accounting mechanism.”
“On the 20th of November 2019, officials from the Embassy of the People’s Republic of China and the Government of Zimbabwe held cordial meeting. The Government of Zimbabwe acknowledges the assistance received from the People’s Republic of China on the following projects,” said the Minister.
He also said major projects the Chinese bankrolled this year included the upgrading of the Robert Gabriel Mugabe International Airport, the new Parliament Building, rehabilitation of Hwange 7 and 8 power plants, Cyclone Idai, Mahusekwa District Hospital, Food Aid and Borehole drilling programmes.
However, there has been widespread skepticism over government’s reluctance to issue the mutually agreed figures amid fears of misappropriation of funds on its part.
Analysts say there is need for transparency in public finances for greater scrutiny in order to create sustainable development going forward.
Zimbabwe’s government has been engraved in major corruption scandals over the years with offenders seldom brought to book.
This is despite the fact that President Emmerson Mnangagwa has over stressed his administration’s commitment to combat corruption.
Currently, a former cabinet Minister, Prisca Mupfumira stands accused of a plethora of charges pertaining misappropriation of state funds.