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China disputes Mthuli Ncube budget figures

Zimbabwe has courted trouble with one of its major financial lenders- China over bilateral support figures announced by the government which suggest that Chinese funds are insignificant.

Presenting his 2020 budget statement last week, Finance Minister Professor Mthuli Ncube gave a breakdown of bilateral support figures the country has received from various countries.

According to Prof Ncube budget statement, “Cumulative disbursements by Development Partners to end
September 2019 amounted to US$331.2 million, of which
US$194.1 million was from Bilateral Partners and US$137.1
million was from Multilateral Partners.

“Cumulative support from Development Partners to end
December 2019 is projected at US$610.4 million, with Bilateral
Partners contributing US$449.1 million and Multilateral
Partners US$161.3 million”.

According to the breakdown, United States of America donated (US$50m), United Kingdom (US$50m), European Union (US$41m) and  Japan (US$14.2m).

On China, finance minister said only US$3,6m was receiced and it has cause forced China to dispute the figures.

China puts the figure at US$136,8million and has issued a statement refuting the figures.

“The Embassy of the People’s Republic of China in Zimbabwe has taken note of the realse of 2020 National Budget statement by the Zimbabwe governmemt” reads part of the statement.

“The Embassy appreciates the positive role the budget will play in promoting the policies and propagating the facts and figures related to the economic development of the country”.

The embassy said among Development Partner Support received by the Zimbabwean government through bilatetal channels, ‘the figure of bilatetal support provided by  China to Zimbabwe is 3,631,500USD’.

“This is very diffetent from the actual situation on the ground’ added the embassy.

“According to our record, from January to September 2019, the actual bilatetal support provided to Zimbabwe by China is 136,8million USD. Such a figure does not include the other bilatet supports such as the expenses to expert assistance, the Embassy’s donarions to local valnerable groups and so on”.

The Embassy advised Zimbabwe to “make comprehensive assessments on its statistics of bilatetal supports and accuretly reflect its actual situation when formularing budget statements”.

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