RAPAPORT... Once again Zimbabwe's diamond mining companies in the Marange region have not remitted revenue to the nation's Treasury, according to the Minister of Finance, Tendai Biti. Presenting his State of the Economy Report for April at his government offices, Biti said revenue from the diamond mining companies would have financed voter registration for the upcoming presidential election in Zimbabwe.
"There are no receipts on diamonds since January. The revenue from the diamonds could have gone a long way in sponsoring the elections," said Biti.
By his estimate, Biti said that at least $113 million was required to fund the elections and despite the non-remittance of revenue from the country's diamond resources, the minister was confident that funding would be found for the elections.
"We expect the UN to assist and we have written to SADC and to individual countries such as South Africa and Angola for financial assistance. We have no doubt that we will be able to secure the funds. People want to assist Zimbabwe as we have shown what we can do during the referendum and voter registration exercise," Biti said.
Zimbabwe's Treasury secured $25 million for voter registration, following the signing of the new Constitution this past week.
"Government is going to publish how the process is going to pan out. Every ward will have a mobile voter registration center and every school should have the voters' roll for inspection. This funding will cover voter education, information and publicity under the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC), police work in ensuring peace and stability and the actual work of voter registration. What we are now left with is to secure the remaining funds to cover elections," Biti said.
A date has not been set yet for the election. Biti called for urgent implementation of all outstanding reforms in order to ensure free and fair elections once a date is set.