14 March 2012

Zimbabwe: No Budget for Elections - Minister Biti

press release

Finance Minister, Hon. Tendai Biti has said there is no budget to finance the holding of elections this year. The Minister said this at a news conference to announce the state of the economy as at 12 February 2012 in Harare today.

In his statement, Minister Biti highlighted that no money from diamond proceeds has been received by Treasury since the beginning of the year but hoped to receive something at the end of this month.

He said it was pleasing to note that the country had recorded a decline on both the month-on-month and year-on year inflation rates. In his statement, Hon. Biti spoke about economic developments in agriculture, revenue, infrastructure, banking sectors and population census.

Responding to a question on whether there was money to support Robert Mugabe and Zanu PF's declaration that elections will be held this year without fail, Minister Biti said; "We are going to have the constitutional referendum and the national census this year. We do not have the money for elections, there is no budget for it," Hon. Biti said.

The Minister went on to say even the population census was under budgeted for and wondered where the deficit was going to come from.

"A sum of US$37, 2 million is required to carry out the 2012 Population Census. A provision of US$22 million was made in the 2012 National Budget for the exercise. The balance of US$15,2 million will have to be sourced, also targeting development partners," said Minister Biti, adding that he will issue a Statutory Instrument in due course to give legal effect to the 2012 Population Census.

The MDC has made it clear that it will only participate in elections after a new Constitution, media, security sector reforms and a new voters' roll, are in place.

Hon. Biti could not be drawn into commenting in detail about why there are so many roadblocks on the country's roads and why the money was not being channeled to government through the Treasury saying this was the mandate of the ministers of Home Affairs.

However, the Minister said it was meaningless to have more than seven roadblocks within the city centre and nine between Harare and Marondera.

He expressed hope that the responsible ministry will issue a statement soon. There are strong fears that money that is not being controlled from the central Government is being abused and may be used to finance the Zanu PF regime in the next elections.

The people's struggle for real change - Let's finish it!!!

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