Zimbabwe experienced a budget shortfall of $810 million in its 2009/2010 budgetary year, Finance minister Tendai Biti has revealed.
Biti said the shortfall was as a result of failure by the country to attract investment from the international donor community.
He blamed this on the failure by the government to come up with policies that would promote investment in the country as well as drawing international donor support.
Biti said that out of the US$2, 2 billion budgeted for the year 2009-10, Zimbabwe managed to raise $1, 4 billion from its internal revenues.
“In 2009, our budget was US$2, 2 billion measured against our own revenues of US$1, 4 billion.
“We thought and expected that the bulk of our income would come from our friends in the international donor community,” said Biti.
He added: “The budget had a shortfall of US$810 million and nine months into the year, it has become evident that we are not going to meet that target of raising US$800 million.”
Speaking at a budget consultation meeting with various stakeholders in Bulawayo, Biti said this showed government failed to properly benchmark its estimates, arguing that so much hope and trust had been placed on donor support and investment attraction.
This, Biti said, had been premised on the hope and belief that Zimbabwe was now a globally competitive country, given the peace that was prevailing in the country.
“Therefore we failed in that we were not pragmatic in our judgment of donor attractiveness in respect to Zimbabwe. And we have to avoid that in 2011,” Biti said.
Biti said Zimbabwe’s problems were compounded by the country’s rankings on global rankings.
He said the country had a checkered creditworthiness history.
“Zimbabwe owes the World Bank an amount of US$6, 7 billion. We owe about US$1, 2 billion to the IMF and other amounts of money to the African Development Bank.
“These are the gatekeepers to financial assistance. What we need to do is to simply clear this debt so that we can re-align ourselves with those countries that are worth lending money by these institutions,” said the Finance minister.
Biti also blasted sections of the inclusive government that have sought to politicise the debt issue with the IMF and the World Bank.