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Zimbabwe Lawmakers Discuss Likely Shape of US$2 Billion Budget for 2011

Finance Minister Tendai Biti envisioned a 2011 budget of about US$2 billion while Planning Minister Mashakada projected 9.3 percent growth next year

Zimbabwean lawmakers, business people and labor officials on Friday wrapped up a two-day seminar in Victoria Falls on the soon-to-be-announced 2011 budget organized by Parliament’s committee on budget, finance and investment promotion, calling for 15 percent of the fiscal package to be dedicated to the health care system.

The conference recommended 10 percent of the budget be spent on agriculture. Members also proposed that under-performing state enterprises should be privatized while those on the verge of collapse should be shuttered.

Addressing the conference on Thursday, Finance Minister Tendai Biti described his budget framework of about US$2 billion. Planning Minister Tapiwa Mashakada said the economy is expected to grow by 9.3 percent next year.

The gathering was disrupted on Thursday when Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries President Joseph Kanyekanye issued a call for the lifting of Western sanctions targeting President Robert Mugabe and his inner circle, saying they were impeding economic growth. Members of both formations of the Movement for Democratic change, the former opposition party now in government with Mr. Mugabe's ZANU-PF, heckled him and threatened to walk out.

Parliamentary budget committee member Willas Madzimure told VOA Studio 7 reporter Jonga Kandemiiri that the meeting gave members a preview of how various ministries propose to spend their 2011 allocations.