THE government has budgeted US$132 million for general elections which President Emmerson Mnangagwa said must go ahead next year as scheduled.
In a budget statement tabled before parliament on Thursday, Finance Minister Patrick Chinamasa said the 2018 budget "will provide resources amounting to US$132.2 million in support of the 2018 Harmonised Elections budget".
"This is over and above resources provided for voter registration under the 2017 budget," Chinamasa said.
He revealed that US$13.7 million was incurred this year by the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission towards the procurement of biometric voter registration (BVR) kits, field equipment, vehicles, computer software and hardware, as well as training and deployment of voter registration personnel.
A further US$5.4 million was incurred by the Registrar General's Department towards the issuance of birth certificates and national identity documents in preparation for the BVR exercise.
President Mnangagwa announced during his inaugural speech on November 24 that Zimbabwe is set to go for general elections by September 2018.
The opposition is demanding the implementation of reforms that will help ensure a free and fair contest but the ruling Zanu PF party has previously ruled out "reforming itself out of power".
Mnangagwa is set to represent Zanu PF in the elections after taking over power from Robert Mugabe who resigned last month after 37 years in office.
The new Zanu PF leader will be challenged by, among others, ex-prime minister and MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai and former vice president Joice Mujuru who lead rival opposition coalitions.