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No funds for polls: Biti


FINANCE minister Tendai Biti yesterday told Parliament that Zimbabwe was broke hence could not bankroll the forthcoming harmonised elections.


He, however, said he was ready to be part of Sadc efforts to source funds for the general elections.

Responding to questions from members of the House of Assembly, Biti reiterated that the country needed to appreciate that potential donors would only be prepared to fund an electoral process that was beyond reproach.

“I am beginning to sound like a broken record on this issue. We don’t have the money for elections. Our budget cannot afford that because we are looking at a figure of at least $140 million,” Biti said.

The minister said he had told Sadc executive secretary Tomaz Augusto Salomão that he would want to be part of the team that would visit different Sadc nations with the begging bowl.

Although it was possible to raise the requisite financial resources, he said, potential donors would only be prepared to bankroll a process in which the money would be properly accounted for.

“Donors are ready to fund the election, but they want a clear, transparent mechanism of disbursement. No one wants to put hard-earned money from their taxpayers into an uncertain election. No one will put money into something that is going to fail,” Biti said.

On the part of government, he said, it would be unfair to raise additional funds by increasing taxes after increasing petrol and diesel prices by $0,05 to $1,57 and $1,40 a litre respectively to raise funds for the constitutional referendum last March. Biti said if they were to pursue that option again, they would only be able to reach $50 million in December. He said if Mines minister Obert Mpofu surrendered money from diamond sales to Treasury, there would be no financial headaches in as far as the elections were concerned.

“The only thing we can do to ensure that the money comes now is if Honourable Mpofu is honest enough to give us the money from diamonds,” Biti said.

The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission recently said they only received half a million dollars out of the allocated $8 million.

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