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Last Updated: Friday, 22 August, 2003, 11:43 GMT 12:43 UK
Zimbabwe doubles budget
Children eating food
Food has become increasingly unaffordable
The Zimbabwean government has unveiled an emergency supplementary budget aimed at paying state employees' wages and importing food, seeds and medicines.

Finance Minister Herbert Murerwa asked parliament to approve a supplementary budget of $840m (533m), almost doubling the country's existing budget.

He said the new budget would not boost the country's deficit, as it would be financed by the removing price controls and increased tax revenues.

The announcement was greeted with derision from opposition legislators, who urged Mr Murerwa to "just resign" in the face of the country's financial crisis.

"A large proportion of the money will have to be printed, and therefore it will be inflationary," said John Robertson, a private economic consultant.

"The government is not addressing the crisis, they are simply treating the symptoms of the problem but the problem will not got away," he added.

Survival strategies

The bulk of the new budget will be spent on pay rises for state workers who are struggling to survive in the face of soaring inflation which has made basic goods unaffordable.

Part of it will also be set aside to buy agricultural supplies before the start of the next planting season.

Zimbabwe is enduring its worst economic crisis since becoming independent in 1980.

The country is struggling with widespread cash and fuel shortages, inflation of almost 400% and unemployment of about 70%.

Zimbabwe's main opposition party blames President Robert Mugabe for the mismanagement of the economy during his 23 year rule.

Mr Mugabe blames international opponents for sabotaging the economy because of his controversial policy of seizing white-owned farms.


SEE ALSO:
Zimbabwe bans cash hoarding
18 Aug 03  |  Business
Zimbabwe tackles cash shortage
08 Aug 03  |  Africa
Zimbabwe slides into economic chaos
25 Feb 03  |  Business
Zimbabwe short of banknotes
09 May 03  |  Business
Zimbabwe mulls 'devaluation'
03 Feb 03  |  Business
Zimbabwe sanctions 'have failed'
02 May 03  |  Africa
Country profile: Zimbabwe
17 Apr 03  |  Country profiles


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