Zimbabwe’s bank balance is down to $217, according to the country’s finance minister, Tendai Biti.
The low balance occurred after the government’s public account was used to pay public workers’ salaries last week.
Al Jazeera reports that Biti stated:
“Last week when we paid civil servants there was $217 [left] in government coffers. The government finances are in paralysis state at the present moment. We are failing to meet our targets.”
Zimbabwe’s economy has been difficult over the past ten years. The country has seen hyper-inflation of 231 million percent and its infrastructure crumbled.
At the turn of the millennium, former President Robert Mugabe began seizing farms owned by whites. The move destroyed investors’ confidence in the country. It also paralyzed production and prompted international sanctions. The country also saw a steep drop in tourists visiting.
At one point, the government was forced to issue 100 trillion-dollar bills. NBC News notes that the country has since switched to the US dollar. They also created a coalition government in 2008=9, which was creditied with taming inflation and helping to stabilize the country.
The economy is more stable, but public finances all remain a mess. Local business continues to battle against unstable electricity supplies, lack of liquidity, and high labor costs.
Biti also stated that Zimbabwe’s bank balance of $217 threatens the country’s elections, which are expected to come after March’s referendum for a new constitution.
He added, “The government finances are in a paralysis state at the present moment.” Because of the bank balance, the country may have to seek donations.