Opposotion legislator Tendai Biti today said it was an embarrassment for a country like Zimbabwe to sign aloan for US$15 million because this was petty cash for companies like Econet, Delta, la Farge or Old Mutual.
Biti was speaking during a motion to ratify a loan between Zimbabwe and the OPEC fund. The US$15 million loan is for the Smallholder Agriculture Cluster Project to be implemented in Mashonaland Central, Mashonaland East, Mashonaland West, Midlands and Matabeleland North.
Biti said it was ridiculous that Parliament should sit to ratify such a small loan.
“Zimbabwe is a sovereign country that has been independent for 43 years and our GDP is around US$18 billion. For us Mr. Speaker, to sit in this House seeking to ratify a loan of US$15 million, there is something wrong. We are failing somewhere,” he said.
“US$15 million is not even a loan that can be borrowed by Econet, Delta Corporation, LaFarge Cement, Old Mutual, the top listed companies, the blue chip companies of this country; they do not borrow US$15 million. It is petty cash. Small SMEs that want to develop will borrow US$15 million but we are a country. How can we borrow US$15 million? It is an embarrassment; it is absolutely ridiculous that we can borrow US$15 million as a sovereign republic.”
Biti said that the reason why Zimbabwe had been reduced to borrowing such small amounts was that its people were not united.
“Why do we have this developmental deficit; why do we have this growth deficit? Those are the issues that we need to address. I addressed some of them last week when you were sitting on the Chair. We are not united, we do not have a common vision,” he said.
“We pursue politics of exclusion, politics of intolerance and that is the challenge. We beat each other up, we prevent each other from having rallies and meetings, our politics is ugly, that is what we need to address.
“Therefore, we have no problem with this loan, the problem we have is we cannot be reduced to such levels of ridiculousness that a sovereign republic, a whole county with a flag and a national anthem can borrow $15 million – that is the challenge we have.”