Re­move sanc­tions in to­tal to as­sist eco­nomic re­cov­ery

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - National News -

ZIM­BABWE has been un­der the yoke of sanc­tions for close to two decades now and the puni­tive mea­sures have not only stran­gu­lated the per­for­mance of the coun­try’s econ­omy but have also sig­nif­i­cantly low­ered the qual­ity of life of the av­er­age cit­i­zen. While couched as tar­geted, sanc­tions im­posed on Zim­babwe by the United States of Amer­ica, Bri­tain and their al­lies have made it dif­fi­cult for or­di­nary peo­ple and busi­ness en­ti­ties to con­duct trans­ac­tions out­side the coun­try mainly be­cause of the high risk rat­ing ac­corded to Zim­babwe and the threat of black­list­ing those that wish to do busi­ness with Zim­bab­weans en­counter.

New York and Lon­don are the world’s cap­i­tals in terms of in­ter­na­tional fi­nan­cial trans­ac­tions and mil­lions of dol­lars chan­nelled through these cities as pay­ment for Zim­bab­wean prod­ucts have been frozen sim­ply be­cause they were des­tined for this coun­try.

The fallacy that the sanc­tions are tar­geted at Zim­bab­wean Gov­ern­ment of­fi­cials and are only meant to re­strict them from trav­el­ling have been laid bare by the nu­mer­ous com­plaints lodged by pri­vate busi­ness­peo­ple who find it dif­fi­cult to trans­act with over­seas mar­kets as red flags are raised each time they try to en­ter into deals with in­ter­na­tional cor­po­ra­tions. Zim­babwe has been re-en­gag­ing the Euro­pean Union and has had some sanc­tions lifted but the bloc still main­tains an eco­nomic em­bargo which re­stricts Zim­bab­wean en­ti­ties from do­ing busi­ness with EU na­tions.

The US is still to re­peal the Zim­babwe Democ­racy and Eco­nomic Re­cov­ery Act a dam­ag­ing piece of leg­is­la­tion which has done more to wreck the coun­try’s econ­omy than the re­cov­ery it pur­ports to cham­pion. Zidera bars all in­ter­na­tional fi­nan­cial in­sti­tu­tions in which the US has rep­re­sen­ta­tion or share­hold­ing from co­op­er­at­ing with Zim­babwe.

On Wed­nes­day, Pres­i­dent Mu­gabe threw down the gaunt­let at the United States, Bri­tain and their al­lies to re­move ru­inous sanc­tions im­posed on Zim­babwe in to­tal as they are sti­fling ef­forts to im­ple­ment the na­tional eco­nomic blue­print — Zim-As­set — it­self the path­way to ful­fill­ing the United Na­tions’ Sus­tain­able De­vel­op­ment Goals.

Ad­dress­ing the UN Gen­eral Assem­bly in New York, Cde Mu­gabe said Zim-As­set con­tained ob­jec­tives in tan­dem with the SDGs, which are also re­ferred to as Agenda 2030. Zim-As­set came into force in 2013, two years be­fore the global com­mu­nity agreed to adopt the SDGs.

How­ever, the con­tin­ued im­po­si­tion of il­le­gal eco­nomic sanc­tions on Zim­babwe by the United States and its al­lies were mak­ing it dif­fi­cult to roll out the pro­gramme as en­vis­aged, Pres­i­dent Mu­gabe noted. He high­lighted the in­jus­tice of the sanc­tions and de­mand­ing an end to the il­le­gal regime. “Our task of do­mes­ti­cat­ing Agenda 2030 has been made rel­a­tively less chal­leng­ing in that the vi­sion and as­pi­ra­tions of our na­tional eco­nomic blue­print and the global agenda are ba­si­cally the same.

“Our big­gest im­ped­i­ment to the achieve­ment of the 2030 Agenda is the bur­den of the puni­tive and heinous sanc­tions im­posed against us by some among us here,” the Pres­i­dent said.

“My coun­try, Zim­babwe, is the in­no­cent vic­tim of spite­ful sanc­tions im­posed by the United States and other pow­ers and these coun­tries have for some rea­son main­tained these sanc­tions for some 16 years now. As a coun­try, we are be­ing col­lec­tively pun­ished for ex­er­cis­ing the one pri­mor­dial prin­ci­ple en­shrined in the United Na­tions Char­ter, that of sovereign in­de­pen­dence. We are be­ing pun­ished for do­ing what all other na­tions have done, that is, pos­sess­ing and own­ing their nat­u­ral re­sources, and lis­ten­ing to and re­spond­ing to the ba­sic needs of our peo­ple”.

He added: “Those who have im­posed these sanc­tions would rather have us pan­der to their in­ter­ests at the ex­pense of the ba­sic needs of the ma­jor­ity of our peo­ple. As long as these eco­nomic and fi­nan­cial sanc­tions re­main in place, Zim­babwe’s ca­pac­ity to fully and ef­fec­tively im­ple­ment Agenda 2030 is deeply cur­tailed.

“I re­peat my call to Bri­tain and the United States and their al­lies to re­move the il­le­gal and un­jus­ti­fied sanc­tions against my coun­try and its peo­ple. We must all be bound by our com­mit­ments to Agenda 2030, un­der which we all agreed to es­chew sanc­tions in favour of di­a­logue.”

We agree with the Pres­i­dent that sanc­tions need to be re­moved in to­tal if Zim­babwe is to achieve the ob­jec­tives of the SDGs. Zim-As­set re­quires sub­stan­tial fi­nan­cial re­sources to im­ple­ment and Zim­babwe does not have ac­cess to cheap lines of credit due to sanc­tions. We also feel Western coun­tries need to ac­knowl­edge the re­forms which the Gov­ern­ment has im­ple­mented to meet some of the con­di­tions set out by global mul­ti­lat­eral fi­nan­cial in­sti­tu­tions for fund­ing.

Trea­sury has been work­ing the IMF and World Bank to im­ple­ment mea­sures aimed at re­viv­ing the econ­omy and while some of the pre­scrip­tions have been very un­pop­u­lar, Zim­babwe has bent over back­wards to ac­com­mo­date them.

There are on­go­ing ef­forts to cur­tail pub­lic sec­tor spend­ing and ra­tio­nalise the civil ser­vice sand this is be­ing done to pla­cate these in­sti­tu­tions which have set out con­di­tions for re­sump­tion of bud­getary sup­port. Zim­babwe de­serves a chance to im­ple­ment its eco­nomic re­vival plan with­out the bur­den of sanc­tions.

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