Zimbabwe's bank balance stands at $217

Harare - After paying public workers' salaries last week, the balance in cash-strapped Zimbabwe's government public account stood at just $217, Finance Minister Tendai Biti said on Tuesday.

"Last week when we paid civil servants there was $217 [left] in government coffers," Biti told journalists in the capital Harare, claiming some of them had healthier bank balances than the state.

"The government finances are in paralysis state at the present moment. We are failing to meet our targets."

Zimbabwe's economy went into free-fall at the turn of the millennium, after President Robert Mugabe began seizing white-owned farms.

The move demolished investor confidence in the country, paralysed production, prompted international sanctions and scared off tourists.

After more than a decade - in which the country suffered hyper-inflation of 231 million percent and infrastructure that crumbled as quickly as prices went up - the situation is now more stable.

But public finances remain a mess and local business battles against unstable electricity supplies, lack of liquidity and high labour costs.

Zimbabwe's government has warned it does not have enough money to fund a constitutional referendum and elections expected this year.

Biti said that left no choice but to ask the donors for cash.

"We will be approaching the international community," he said.

The country's elections agency said it requires $104m to organise the vote.

Government's national budget for this year stands at $3.8bn and the economy is projected to grow 5%.

The mineral rich country is now using the US dollar and the South African rand.

kyle.johnston.7146 2013/01/29 10:41:52 PM
Before anyone bails them out they first need to get rid of that fool in power. Seize all his assets and sell them off then come talk to the international community. Before then no-one should give a hand.
Gert van Coller 2013/01/29 10:55:15 PM
What did they expect? Or does cause and effect seize to exist over there. Don't worry Bob! The chinese will bail you out. You just have to sign away your country. What's left of it anyway. Then you can go and buy a few Happy Meals at McDonalds with the $217.
Al Rost-Felder 2013/01/29 11:06:20 PM
231% inflation!,, damn that has to be a world record! Well done to Uncle Bob and his cronies
Vernon Scott 2013/01/30 12:06:38 AM
The ANC are wanting to do this to our beautiful country.
Christiaan Rudolph Potgieter 2013/01/30 12:28:38 AM
No donors please please, if you keep voting Mugabe, you have to learn the hard way. If you want it the African way, stop asking for western help!!!! And that goes for ANC and its supporters. End of story!!!
Watkykj 2013/01/30 12:49:10 AM
Tommo Too 2013/01/30 12:50:53 AM
Oh Lord they are in biiiiiig trouble
dtangocci 2013/01/30 01:03:28 AM
Don't worry Zimbabwe. The SA taxpayer will replenish your coffers. No need to pay us back either.
precious.yumyum 2013/01/30 04:28:36 AM
I thought indegenisation/nationalisation was supposed to bring money to the state purse. But then again, all African leaders see state purse as their own to use for personal stuff. How can Zim have all those minerals and agricultural products but be broke? Just R1900 in their bank account? What does the AU say about this failed state? I know that South Africa is planning to sell arms to Mugabe just before elections. Obviously, they still want the old dinossaur to reman in power. Trust me, we are our own enemies and not the West or the East.
Stephen King 2013/01/30 04:51:57 AM
Is that american dollars or zim dollars. If the people of this country dont wake up and get rid of the corrupt thieves who run our country, let me rephrase that, ruin our country we will go the same way