PRESIDENT Emmerson Mnangagwa has been left exposed after claiming that the British government had advanced a $100 million loan to Zimbabwe to ease the current cash crisis.
Addressing Zanu PF supporters in Mutare on Saturday, Mnangagwa said following the thawing of relations between the two nations, the United Kingdom had given Zimbabwe a $100 million soft loan to resolve the cash crisis, which has seen Zimbabweans sleeping in bank queues to withdraw as little as $20 per day.
“The British Prime Minister (Theresa May) has so far sent three envoys into the country and we had talks with the British this week (last week) and just last Tuesday, they gave us $100 million to ease the cash crisis in our country,” he told a cheering crowd at Sakubva Stadium in Mutare on Saturday.
“We are going to receive more money, which is on its way. We want to ensure that everyone can access their money from the bank and be able to use it.”
On Friday, Mnangagwa made similar claims during a meeting with various women’s groups in Harare.
“For the first time after nearly 20 years, we have received a soft loan from the British and the (Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe) governor, John Mangudya has been telling me how he has disbursed the money. As from yesterday, almost every bank in the country has received part of the $100 million,” he said.
However, the money was advanced to the country by CDC through the Standard Chartered Bank, as a line of credit to the private sector only.
CDC is the UK’s development finance institution, which supports the building of businesses throughout Africa and South Asia to create jobs and sustainability.
On their official Twitter account, CDC said the loan was only for recapitalisation to revive local industry and not to resolve the cash crisis.
“We’ve partnered with Standard Chartered to provide up to $100 million of new lending to businesses in Zimbabwe.
“It’s the largest investment in the country’s private sector for several years,” CDC said.
The British embassy, through its official and verified Twitter account, reiterated that the money was targeted at the private sector.
“Good to see support for hard-pressed Zimbabwean private sector,” the embassy, which has increasingly come under pressure for aiding Zanu PF and meddling in the country’s internal politics, said.
British deputy ambassador to Zimbabwe, Simon Thomas, also dismissed the notion that the money was meant to ease cash shortages.
“Utter nonsense. Read the CDC group Press statement,” he said on Twitter.
“It could not be clearer that this is about much-needed credit lines to struggling Zimbabwe private sector on commercial terms.
“Not a cent is going anywhere near government, let alone political parties,” he said.
Mangudya also contradicted Mnangagwa’s claims, saying: “This is a significant move in that it is a medium-term facility to be used for the revival of companies in Zimbabwe.
“There has been a deficit of medium-term funding, which was not forthcoming to Zimbabwe.
“This is going to improve the competitiveness of the industry in Zimbabwe in terms of retooling and improvement of productivity.”
Efforts to get a comment from the government on the matter were fruitless last night.