World Bulletin / News Desk
Zimbabwe Finance Minister Patrick Chinamasa has postponed the announcement of his 2014 budget, tentatively scheduled for this month, to allow more time for consultation, local media reported on Monday.
Chinamasa, who was appointed by veteran leader Robert Mugabe in September, had said his maiden budget would come this month but the state-owned Herald newspaper quoted him as saying that was too soon.
"We won't have a budget statement in November. I need more time, possibly in December, but we will meet the constitutional requirement of doing it by January 2014," he told members of parliament at a pre-budget meeting in Victoria Falls.
Chinamasa could not immediately be reached for comment.
Mugabe has promised to increase the salaries of government workers but with wages already consuming 70 percent of the budget and revenues barely growing, Chinamasa has little room to move.
The southern African nation's economy is expected to grow 3.2 percent this year, a significant decline from the near-double digit expansion it enjoyed after the government scrapped the worthless Zimbabwedollar in 2009.
Zimbabwe desperately needs foreign investment and donor support to create jobs and revamp infrastructure but Mugabe and other top officials remain subject to international sanctions, making major support impossible.