Did Mthuli Ncube lie to Parliament about how much Zimbabwe owes China?


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Zimbabwe Finance Minister Mthuli Ncube might have understated the amount that Zimbabwe owes to China by US$873 million, opposition legislator Norman Markham said yesterday.

Markham said Mthuli Ncube had told Parliament that Zimbabwe owed China US$2.7 billion but had repaid US$153 billion leaving a balance of US$1.7 billion.

“It is not, it is $2.64 billion that we still owe them,” he said.  “To me, that is a shocking revelation purely because we are not thinking that the Hon. Minister did not check his figures, we are talking of a national debt here.

“What worries me is that the figure of the loan is actually understated by $71 million, I have checked that personally.  The repayment is overstated by $200 000 and the total difference is $873 400 000.  

“My concern now Mr. Speaker is if these figures are wrong like this, it worries me because yesterday we were supposed to get a full turn out of ministers but we did not and it just worries me that we are getting feedback of this information that is not correct. 

“I thought the Minister is unwittingly fed this information or we have been fed a lot of rubbish.”

Speaker Jacob Mudenda told Markham to put his question in writing. When Markha said the minister was hesitant to respond as last time his question had been on the order paper for three months, Mudenda said he would make sure that the question was answered.

Full contribution:

THE HON. SPEAKER: Hon. Markham you are hesitating to stand up.

HON MARKHAM: I was a bit slow but I would like to bring up a point of order.  Mr. Speaker, you recall in this House I requested for the Chinese loans to be reported on by the Minister of Finance which he gave us.  I have spent a lot of time looking at this report from the Minister.  I am afraid and worried Hon. Speaker, about his figures that he reported to us in the House. I was in the office checking on the figures to make sure there were no typos. His figures do not balance by $873 million that he gave us.  He gave us a rough figure of $2.7 billion that we owe the Chinese Government, of which we have repaid $153 million not billion.  So the outstanding balance if you take those two figures apart, he says $1.7 billion, it is not, it is $2.64 billion that we still owe them.  To me, that is a shocking revelation purely because we are not thinking that the Hon. Minister did not check his figures, we are talking of a national debt here. 

Continued next page

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Charles Rukuni
The Insider is a political and business bulletin about Zimbabwe, edited by Charles Rukuni. Founded in 1990, it was a printed 12-page subscription only newsletter until 2003 when Zimbabwe's hyper-inflation made it impossible to continue printing.

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