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Business

Business

Biti says vote uncertainty hurting economy

Biti says vote uncertainty hurting economy

By AFP

Zimbabwe's Finance Minister Tendai Biti warned Tuesday that uncertainty surrounding upcoming polls was hurting the economy and may have spurred a fall in growth of up to three percent.

"There is clear evidence of economic decline in the economy and the elephant in the living room self-evidently remains the issue of elections," he told reporters.


"I think the sooner that there is clarity on the dates, there is clarity on the processes, there is clarity on the funding I think we should see the return of greater business confidence."

Zimbabwe must ensure political stability and fix an election date for investors to have "certainty", he urged.

Pointing to the possible impact on first-quarter growth, he said he had "absolutely no doubt that GDP growth rate would have been a decline of at least minus two percent, minus three percent".

He said the country's agriculture sector had also fared poorly as poor rains compromised maize, cotton and bean production.

While Zimbabwe battles to raise the necessary funds for the vote, Biti announced that $25 million has been drummed up for a blitz to register voters.

The money is from the cash-strapped government's main account, the consolidated revenue fund, but Biti did not provide details of how it was sourced.

"We have not borrowed from anyone, we have not harmed any economy. We have as I said before a vast array of measures and all we have done is we have collected what was due to us," he said.

On Tuesday, he reiterated that Zimbabwe would seek the $132 million required to organise the elections from neighbouring countries and the United Nations.

The vote will replace a shaky power-sharing government formed four years ago by veteran ruler Robert Mugabe and his top rival, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai.

 
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