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Govt May Borrow To Pay Evicted White Farmers

17 August 2021

The government is considering borrowing money directly from private investors to fund the first half of a $3.5 billion compensation agreement with white farmers whose land was seized for redistribution to blacks two decades ago.

Government, which last month appointed London-based Newstate Partners to help raise the money, needs to secure $1.75 billion by July next year to meet its obligations.

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While the government is likely to press ahead with publicly stated plans to sell an international bond to finance the compensation accord, that option probably won’t be viable, said the source who asked not to be identified as the information hasn’t been disclosed publicly, Bloomberg reported.

A bond is deemed too expensive and in any case, will need a guarantee from a multilateral lender.

That’s unlikely to be forthcoming as Zimbabwe hasn’t paid its arrears on more than $8 billion in debt, meaning it can’t borrow fresh capital from them.

If money is raised from private investors, a special-purpose vehicle (SPV) could be set up offshore and a portion of the country’s tax or royalty earnings from mineral exports could be diverted into it to repay them over a number of years with interest, the Bloomberg source said.

The SPV could also be used as a guarantee to bolster the confidence of potential lenders, the source added.

Zimbabwe’s main exports include platinum-group metals, gold and tobacco.

Efforts by the publication to get a comment from Finance minister Mthuli Ncube and permanent secretary George Guvamatanga were fruitless as they didn’t respond to calls and text messages seeking comment.

More: NewsDay