Zimbabwe: Account for Diamond Revenue

Revenue from diamond sales, at 25 percent of expected income, is disappointing, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai has said.

Responding to questions during the Monthly Prime Minister's Question Time, in the House of Assembly, Wednesday, Prime Minister Tsvangirai said the issue of revenue inflows to treasury was of serious concern.

"The performance is very disappointing. We have to look at these revenues and see if we are actually selling or we are just mining. It is a question of accountability and transparency," he said, adding that

He said treasury was only getting 25 percent of the expected diamond revenue, which put the Government in a financial squeeze.

Prime Minister Tsvangirai said there was no Government policy to freeze salaries of civil servants, but poor performance of diamond erevnue was making it difficult for Government to review their salaries.

"Let me say that the issue of diamonds revenue is of concern to cabinet. Last Thursday we had a special Cabinet discussion around the budget performance, and you recall Honourable Members that in the last budget statement a provision was given that $600 million would come from diamond sales. If we are selling then we must insist on that money coming to Treasury. This is not a sanctions issue, it really is a case of accountability and transparency," said Prime Minister Tsvangirai.

"So yes, we will continue to monitor, and inform the nation that the expected windfall of $600 million is no more, if the current performance over the last six months is anything to go by. The mines are working but we should ensure that marketing and revenue derived comes to Treasury," he added.

He said Government is committed to upgrading civil servants salaries but the fiscal space was making it difficult.

"The economy is not performing. About 70 percent of our expected revenue goes towards salaries leaving 30 percent for other Government expenditure," the Prime Minister said.

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