Zimbabwean Finance Minister Tendai Biti said Friday that Zimbabwe can't expect the international community to fund the government or economic reconstruction, and that this could stall the still-fragile recovery.
He said Zimbabwean consumers and businesses got through 2009 on remittances from abroad, personal savings and bank lending to some enterprises.
But low production levels and diminishing external support could the country into the red in 2010.
Biti told VOA Studio 7 reporter Patience Rusere that the government has developed a plan to fund operations from potentially significant Marange diamond revenues – but much more is needed to sustain growth. It could take US$10 billion to rebuild Zimbabwe, he said.
Though resources are generally scarce, Biti on Thursday allocated US$100 million from a special fund set up by the Group of 20 and administered by the International Monetary Fund to help poorer countries weather the international economic downturn.
Biti said the funds would go to rebuild infrastructure including the Hwange electric power plant, improve public water systems, upgrade roads and expand the airports in Harare and Bulawayo.
The money will be disbursed through the Infrastructural Development Bank of Zimbabwe which will make payments to contractors.
Deputy Secretary General Japhet Moyo of the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions told VOA Studio 7 reporter Gibbs Dube that it remains to be seen if the projects will generate many jobs.
“There are some ZANU-PF sympathizers who are working for some state projects that have been going on during the past 10 years and we believe that this money will be for paying their salaries instead of creating new jobs,” Moyo said.
Biti and Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe Governor Gideon Gono have clashed over the disbursement of the funds. Gono has demanded they be used to recapitalize state-controlled enterprises including mining concerns and fertilizer producers, and to boost tourism. Biti has emphasized long-term infrastructure investment.
The country drew some US$50 million from the funds to purchase agricultural inputs for the 2009-2010 crop season, which projected to deliver poor yields.