Zimbabwe's government lowered its growth forecast for the year, as anticipated revenue from the sale of diamonds did not trickle into state coffers, Finance Minister Tendai Biti said Wednesday.
revising downwards the GDP forecast from 9.4 percent to 5.6 percent,"
Biti told lawmakers in parliament as he presented the mid-year budget.
He said the annual inflation target of five percent would be met.
"With regards to diamonds, unfortunately only $46 million has been received against a forecast of $600 million."
Biti also lamented leakages of gold and government spending on foreign travel.
elephant in the living room is foreign travel," Biti said, adding that
the government has spent $157 million on trips abroad since 2009.
said the benefits of the foreign trips did not match their cost, which
Biti said outstripped the budget allocations for essential ministries
like health and education.
"This is an area where we have to take action."
southern African country's economy has stabilised over the last three
years after a decade-long crisis which saw runaway inflation reaching an
official peak of 231 million percent before the government stopped
But Biti blamed inconsistent policies among parties in
the powersharing government, poor rains and indiscipline in the public
sector among other factors for the economy's poor performance.
month Biti told parliament that between January and May the government
had added 10,000 workers to its payroll, without receiving proper
approval for the hires.
A power-sharing government formed in 2009
between long-time political rivals President Robert Mugabe and Prime
Minister Morgan Tsvangirai dumped the worthless local dollar in favour
of the US dollar and other regional currencies.
Goods that were in
short supply or unavailable returned to the shelves, but prices have
continued to fluctuate according to the cost of importing.
relies on imports mainly from South Africa after the economic meltdown
forced factories to downsize, close or relocate to neighbouring