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Zim Needs $4 Billion to Jump Start Ailing Economy

Most companies have shut down in the country's second largest city, Bulawayo. (File Photo)
The Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) formation led by former Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai on Tuesday called on the Harare administration to introduce a $4 billion economic stimulus package to jump start the struggling economy as more companies continue to close shop, leaving thousands of people unemployed.

Addressing a news conference at the MDC-T's Harvest House headquarters, the opposition's shadow finance minister Tendai Biti said there was currently no activity in the economy at all, adding that the government has literally shut down.

Biti called on President Robert Mugabe's government to move with speed and introduce the stimulus package that will help revive the country's ailing economy. The opposition party's general secretary said the country's economy is performing below par because of the crisis of legitimacy of Mister Mugabe's government following the disputed national elections held on July 31last year.

Following last year's polls, Biti said more than 300 companies have closed shop, adding that this was affecting the government's tax base as closed firms are no longer paying corporate tax to the treasury.

The stimulus package proposed by Biti almost equals the $4.2 billon national budget for 2014 announced by Finance Minister Patrick Chinamasa in December.

In light of what he said was the legitimacy crisis, Biti urged the Zanu PF government to engage the world at large to revamp the country's battered image.

In other news, the Combined Harare Residents Association on Tuesday
expressed dismay over Local Government Minister Ignatius Chombo's move urging the reinstatement of Harare City Council Town Clerk Tendai Mahachi, who was
suspended last week by mayor Benard Manyenyeni, to pave way for investigations into the local authority's finances and senior managers' salaries.

CHRA chairperson, Simbarashe Moyo, told reporters that his association supports the decision by the city's mayor to suspend Mahachi over the hefty salaries he and other top executives at the local authority are getting at the expense of service delivery.

Moyo criticized Chombo for interfering with council affairs, adding that his association will take several steps including mounting a legal challenge, urging residents to boycott the payment of rates and engaging in street protests that he says will begin on Friday.

Manyenyeni told the VOA last night that Mahachi remains suspended pending investigations despite Chombo's directive to re-instate him.