IMF in­sists on au­dit of Moza debt

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - Business -

MAPUTO — The In­ter­na­tional Mon­e­tary Fund (IMF) is de­mand­ing an ex­ter­nal foren­sic au­dit of Mozam­bique's pub­lic debt to re­gain in­vestor con­fi­dence af­ter a scan­dal over more than $2 bil­lion in se­cret loans, its lo­cal rep­re­sen­ta­tive said yes­ter­day.

Par­lia­ment and the at­tor­ney-gen­eral's of­fice have launched in­ves­ti­ga­tions into the undis­closed bor­row­ing in 2013 and 2014 but the gov­ern­ment has baulked at open­ing up its books to out­side au­di­tors.

How­ever, the IMF, which sus­pended as­sis­tance when the loans came to light this year, has in­sisted on ex­ter­nal scru­tiny as a pre­cur­sor to re­sum­ing fi­nan­cial aid to what is one of the world's poor­est coun­tries. "It is im­por­tant to move quickly to an i nte rnat i on a l foren­sic au­dit," its rep­re­sen­ta­tive, Alex Se­gu­raU­biergo, said in an in­ter­view on Ra­dio Mozam­bique, the pub­lic broad­caster.

"In­vestors are still in­ter­ested in in­vest­ing in Mozam­bique and this will bring for­eign ex­change, will bring dol­lars, but for this we need also the re­turn of con­fi­dence," he added.

The debt cri­sis and aid sus­pen­sion has hit Mozam­bique hard, with its cur­rency, the met­i­cal, los­ing nearly 40% against the dol­lar since Jan­uary and eco­nomic growth slow­ing to below 4%.

With for­eign debt soar­ing to­wards 100% of GDP, the gov­ern­ment has been forced to re­vise its 2016 bud­get, which now shows a deficit equal to 11.3% of GDP, while the cen­tral bank hiked in­ter­est rates by 300 ba­sis points in July to try to prop up the cur­rency and con­tain in­fla­tion. — fin 24

Mr Alex Se­gura-Ubiergo

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