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Government broke – Cabinet ministers

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The government of national unity (GNU) is broke and has no money to pay civil servants’ salaries and recapitalise State enterprises, two Cabinet ministers have said.

State Enterprises and Parastatals minister Gorden Moyo told the Hwange Power Station general manager Ndabezinhle Mphoko that while the government was interested in recapitalising their operations, there was simply no money for such projects.

His sentiments were echoed by Industry and Trade minister Welshman Ncube.

“The government has no money,” said Moyo. “Any country must have four methods of getting resources into the fiscus, but currently we are depending on one, which is collecting taxes. We (government) should be earning money through foreign direct investments, overseas assistance and export earnings. Our fiscal space is constricted hence we are not able to finance you (parastatals).

“However, we are determined to ensure that the energy sector is one of the areas that are recapitalised. In the Medium-Term Plan launched on Thursday and in the Budget, I am sure the energy sector will get more money,” he said.

Moyo toured Hwange Colliery Company last Thursday and the Hwange Power Station on Friday last week in an effort to familiarise himself with operations of the country’s key parastatals.

Addressing journalists in Bulawayo at the weekend, Ncube said: “There is agreement in government that there will be a salary adjustment for civil servants as reported. But there is a question of where we will get that extra $37 million, or so. There is still debate on where the Minister of finance will find the money.”

Finance minister Tendai Biti has repeatedly said the government was broke and could not finance civil servants’ salary increases.

Last month Biti told over 7 000 MDC-T supporters at White City Stadium that he was ready to increase civil servants’ salaries once he got access to revenue from diamond sales.

“They (Zanu PF critics) speak of civil servants’ salaries as if they are the trade unions of the workers of Zimbabwe. If they give me diamond money I will pay civil servants. Where is the (diamond) money going to? As Finance minister, I haven’t received fresh diamond money since the beginning of 2011,” he said.

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