"Last week when we paid civil servants there was just $217 [left] in government coffers," told Biti to journalists in Harare, according to AFP.
Zimbabwe’s public finances have been in freefall for close to a decade, thanks to hyperinflation and poor government policies in the past. Although the situation has stabilised over the past few years, with the country now using the U.S. dollar and the South African rand as official currency, the nation’s public finances remain a mess – especially with a low tax base, an underperforming economy and high public sector wages, which take up to 73 percent of the $3.8 billion national budget.
Additionally, reports last year suggested that at least $2 billion worth of diamond export revenues may have been stolen by corrupt officials and ministers over the last four years. Finance Minister Tendai Biti in the past has also accused mining companies of not remitting revenue to the government, claiming only $40 million, out of a possible $600 million last year, made its way into the central purse.