Barnabas Dlamini, Swaziland’s illegally-appointed Prime minister, is misleading people into believing that the International Monetary Fund (IMF) is close to offering formal support to help the kingdom out of its economic meltdown.
He called a press conference yesterday (8 April 2011) to announce that the IMF had agreed to help Swaziland through its ‘Staff-Monitoring Programme’ (SMP) to implement the government’s Fiscal Adjustment Roadmap – its plan to save Swaziland’s economy.
Dlamini said, ‘Most significantly, it [the IMF decision] will send a clear and unchallengeable signal, to potential lenders, of government’s total commitment to the Roadmap.’
But that’s not what the IMF actually said. The SMP, which is how the IMF monitors progress of the government in tackling the economic mess, has been talked about for many months now. All that is new is that the IMF has now officially confirmed that the SMP is in place.
An official IMF publication released yesterday said, ‘The [SMP] program entails IMF staff scrutiny of the authorities’ policies, but does not include formal backing of the program or any financial support.’
The IMF said, ‘Approval of this agreement does not represent endorsement of the program by the IMF Executive Board or involve IMF financing.’
So there you have it: no formal backing and no financial support. Not much progress really.
So what is the prime minister’s game? With only five days before mass demonstrations take place in Swaziland to protest at the government’s mismanagement of the economy did he intend to mislead Swazi people into believing that the crisis was nearly over?
SWAZILAND NO CLOSER TO LOAN