By Tichaona Sibanda
Finance Minister Tendai Biti on Wednesday told Senators in Parliament that next time civil servants staged a demonstration against government for better pay, he would join them.
Civil servants on Tuesday demonstrated against Biti after he last week failed to address their calls for a salary hike during presentation of his Mid Term Fiscal statement in Parliament.
Fielding questions from Senators on Wednesday, Biti threatened to join civil servants next time they went on strike. He said: ‘I notice there was a demonstration yesterday for pay increases by civil servants; I want them to be paid.
‘There is no question about that, but the problem is that 73 percent of the budget is going towards 235,000 people, leaving only 27 percent for 14 million people. Next time they demonstrate, I am going to join them so that we can go together to the Ministry of Mines to bring money for diamonds and also to the Ministry of Defence to ask why they are over-employing.’
Last month, the government admitted that it is not receiving any money from Anjin, an army/Chinese controlled diamond firm in Chiadzwa, which was meant to be a joint venture cash-cow for the state.
The Anjin mining company was formed in 2009 as a joint agreement between Zimbabwe and China, after the original claim owners in Chiadzwa were booted off the site.
The agreement was theoretically meant to ensure that a sizeable portion of profits from the lucrative alluvial mine went to the Finance Ministry, through the state owned Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation (ZMDC).
The estimated remittances from the Chiadzwa diamond fields were US$600 million, but half-way through the financial year, Biti said he had only received US$25 million. SW Radio Africa
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