Page last updated at 08:43 GMT, Tuesday, 6 October 2009 09:43 UK

Zimbabwe rivals row over aid cash

Central Bank governor Gideon Gono
Gideon Gono and Tendai Biti have often clashed over financial control

Two key figures in Zimbabwe's shaky power-sharing government are divided over how to spend some $800m (£500m) in recently approved aid funding.

Central Bank governor Gideon Gono - an ally of President Robert Mugabe - has said Finance Minister Tendai Biti is being slow to spend the money.

Mr Biti is a senior figure in the former opposition MDC.

He has reportedly argued that the money should be spent only after the government has agreed a budget.

The unity government was formed in February in an attempt to save Zimbabwe's shattered economy.

Donors have been wary of restoring too much aid to Zimbabwe, fearing it could be misused by Mr Mugabe and his allies.

But the IMF and African Export-Import (Afrexim) Bank have made some $800m available.

Mr Gono, who has often clashed with Mr Biti over control of Zimbabwe's finances, says the money should be distributed to farmers and manufacturers to boost the country's economy.

"The current delay in utilising the IMF loan is needlessly delaying the recovery of the economy," Mr Gono said, according to the Reuters news agency.

"I called the minister of agriculture... and told him that if he is not careful, he will lead this country to hunger.

"There is no meaningful land preparation going on, because there is no money for fuel and spares."

Mr Biti's Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) blames Mr Gono for the collapse of Zimbabwe's economy and wants him to be replaced.

The latest row comes as President Mugabe is due to open parliament later on Tuesday.

The budget is due to be presented in November.

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