FINANCE minister Tendai Biti has said US$96 million out of the US$132,5 million needed for elections has so far been disbursed while the remaining US$36 million would be released by this weekend.
“The actual money to hold elections is now there,” said Biti. “We want to say to the people of Zimbabwe we are ready for elections. The remaining US$36 million is largely for allowances and per diems. We have done according to our constitution to mobilise funds,” he said.
Biti said it was frustrating that his ministry was left alone to mobilise funds internally after efforts to get assistance from the international community hit a snag after disagreements with the ministry of justice.
He said there was no external funding from Sadc, the United Nations (UN) or other donor organisations after Justice minister Patrick Chinamasa blocked a UN assessment team from jetting into the country for negotiations.
Biti also said although no money came from diamond mining firms, Treasury had to comply with the constitution to mobilise funds without crippling the economy.
“We have not caused corrosive taxes though we had been given approval by cabinet to do so. There is life after August 1. People have to eat and hospitals have to function,” Biti said.
Biti said he had taken steps to cushion the economy from further limping adding that the occurrence of a run-off would be precarious to the economy by squeezing the country of another US$132 million.