Bad at saving? Zimbabwe had barely $217 in its bank account
Cash-strapped Zimbabwe only had $217 in its bank account after paying its civil servants last week, Finance Minister, Tendai Biti, told BBC.
The revelation, aimed to emphasize that the government was unable to finance elections (not that it was insolvent), attracted international headlines on Wednesday.
However, Biti (pictured) said later his comments were taken out of context and that the country received about $30 million in revenue the next day.
"You journalists are mischievous and malicious – the point I was making was that the Zimbabwean government doesn't have the funds to finance the election, to finance the referendum," he was quoted as saying.
Biti has complained that diamond mining companies have not been paying revenues to the government. He claims that only $40 million out of an expected $600 million reached government coffers last year.
The country’s economy has been chaotic since President Robert Mugabe began seizing white-owned farms near the turn of the century.