24 June 2011
No afdb loan for SD
MBABANE — Swaziland’s loan request to the African Development Bank (AfDB) was not approved on Tuesday (21 June 2011).
This was the day that Minister of Finance Majozi Sithole urged the nation to pray with him for it to be approved. The country was seeking US$150 million (about E1billion) from the AfDB for what Sithole termed as budget support.
The request was tabled for discussion on Tuesday at the AfDB and the minister had asked for the nation’s prayers as the situation did not look good.
In an interview yesterday Sithole said indications were that the loan’s approval was dependent on the IMF targets. The minister said, "Our sources say our request will only be considered once we meet the International Monetary Fund (IMF) benchmarks."
Sithole said the country was still awaiting for an official report from the AfDB.
"President of the AfDB is yet to communicate to us and I believe he is also considering other options so that when he communicates he will let us into the options," said Sithole.
Sithole was not in a position to state when the official report would be presented.
Speaking on Tuesday Sithole said they had received information that it was looking bad, but he had hoped the country would succeed.
The Bill for the loan has already been tabled and debated in Parliament. Sithole had said the outcome of the loan would only be known on the first day of July adding that until then the country would find it difficult to honour some of its commitments including paying civil servants’ salaries.
In short the minister said the request was not even considered as the country still needed to meet the IMF benchmarks.
Sithole said the IMF, during their recent visit to the country last month, had not been pleased with the progress made on targets which were set for March. The IMF is expected to return to review progress made in meeting June targets.