Zimbabwe’s budget deficit soars after pre-election splurge – Treasury

Prof. Mthuli Ncube

HARARE (Reuters) – Zimbabwe’s budget deficit expanded to $1.3 billion in the first half of 2018, nearly five times the initial target after government spending spiraled ahead of an election in July, a Treasury document showed on Thursday.

Facing an election on July 31, President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s government distributed free seed and fertilizer to rural voters, spent money upgrading roads and dams and injected fresh capital into struggling government-owned companies.

New Finance Minister Mthuli Ncube said on Monday government borrowing via Treasury Bills and an overdraft with the central bank were feeding a growing fiscal deficit that could overwhelm the financial system.