Wednesday, January 30, 2013

(NEWZIMBABWE) Zimbabwe has $200 in bank: Biti

COMMENT - Another MDC election year stunt. I guess they are not looking forward to the upcoming elections.

Zimbabwe has $200 in bank: Biti
29/01/2013 00:00:00
by Jeffrey Moyo

ZIMBABWE has a US$200 bank balance, Finance Minister Tendai Biti said on Tuesday as he revealed the depth of the country’s financial crisis. Biti made the shock revelation as he cast doubt on Zimbabwe’s readiness to hold elections which President Robert Mugabe’s Zanu PF party wants held before June.

“The government has no money for elections,” Biti told a news conference in Harare.

“Last week, there was US$200 in the government coffers. We will be approaching the international community to assist us in this regard, but it’s important that government should also do something.”

Biti has been struggling to balance his budget, constrained by a low tax base, an underperforming economy and public sector wages which take up 73 percent of the total budget.

A referendum on a new constitution is set to be held in March after which President Robert Mugabe is expected to name a date for general elections.

But Biti is warning that the country should not rush to elections before the reforms in the recently agreed draft constitution are given effect by a raft of amendments to current legislation.
He says the earliest Zimbabwe can hold elections would be July.

The MDC-T secretary general said: “We need to ensure electoral reforms are in place first before elections, then we may have elections in July before the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) general assembly [which Zimbabwe is hosting in August].”

Biti also questioned the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission’s US$200 million budget proposal for the referendum and general elections which he says is rather too high. The figures are not “realistic”, Biti said.

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