The government will not agree to any conditions compromising the national sovereignty of the country in its loans discussion of lending institutions such as the IMF, the World Bank and the African Development Bank.
That’s the assertion from finance minister Tito Mboweni, who tabled an emergency supplementary budget in the National Assembly on Wednesday.
Responding to questions at a press conference on Wednesday, Mboweni also said his discussions with the IMF would not have reached an advanced stage if he did not have the backing of the ANC’s leadership in this regard.
He said the local staff of the IMF had already approached their executive directors based in the US following their ongoing talks with him.
Tabling his supplementary budget, Mboweni told MPs that SA would be borrowing R118bn from international finance institutions as its own coffers shrunk following a severe economic decline sparked by the coronavirus.
Mboweni has been asked about reservations that had previously been expressed by some sections of the ANC-led tripartite alliance members, who had suggested that accepting loans from bodies such as the IMF would be detrimental to SA’s sovereignty.
But he said the government would not do anything reckless to compromise the country’s sovereignty.
“I think we’ve reached a point where we’ve found each other, such that the staff of the IMF is able to approach the executive board of the IMF in July, so there’s no way I have proceeded to reach this level of conversations with the IMF if the ANC leadership did not support this,” said Mboweni.
“The truth of the matter is that the ANC leadership supports this, that we approach the IMF, the World Bank and the African Development Bank.
“The critical issue is that as we enter into those borrowing arrangements, nothing is done that undermines national sovereignty. I don’t know why people think that by definition we’re so careless that we would do anything that undermines national sovereignty.”