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Zimbabwe was nearly 'broke' last week

Jan. 30, 2013 at 2:26 PM
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HARARE, Zimbabwe, Jan. 30 (UPI) -- The finance minister of Zimbabwe Wednesday said his statement that the country only had $217 in its public account last week was taken out of context.

Tendai Biti told the BBC the Harare government only had $217 left after paying civil servants Thursday but said $30 million was deposited in the country's public account the next day.

"You journalists are mischievous and malicious -- the point I was making was that the Zimbabwean government doesn't have the funds to finance the election, to finance the referendum," Biti told the British broadcaster's Focus on Africa radio program.

The BBC said Zimbabwe needs about $200 million to fund elections and a referendum on a new constitution.

Biti's Movement of Democratic Change is facing President Robert Zanu-PF in elections planned this year.

Zimbabwe's national economy was ravaged by years of hyperinflation in the early 2000s and remains plagued by unemployment and low tax revenues, the BBC said.

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