Zimbabwe has $217 left in the bank, says minister


 

Finance Minister Tendai Biti

AFTER paying public workers’ salaries last week, the balance in cash-strapped Zimbabwe’s government public account stood at just $217, Finance Minister Tendai Biti said on Tuesday.

“Last week, when we paid civil servants there was $217 (left) in government coffers,” Mr Biti told journalists in the capital Harare, claiming some of them had healthier bank balances than the state.

“The government finances are in a paralysis state at the present moment. We are failing to meet our targets.”

Zimbabwe’s economy went into free fall at the turn of the millennium, after President Robert Mugabe began seizing white-owned farms. The move demolished investor confidence in the country, paralysed production, prompted international sanctions and scared off tourists.

After more than a decade — during which the country suffered from hyperinflation of 231,000,000% and infrastructure that crumbled as quickly as prices went up — the situation is now more stable. But public finances remain a mess, and local business battles against unstable electricity supplies, lack of liquidity and high labour costs

Copyright (2013) AFP. All rights reserved.

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