Harare – The cash-strapped Zimbabwe government is battling to pay salaries on time to diplomatic staff deployed to its 43 embassies across the world, a senior official said on Tuesday.
Willard Manungo, secretary for the Finance Ministry told a parliament committee discussing foreign affairs that the government owes diplomats about $10m in salary arrears.
With regards to the “salaries issue we are two months behind and we are taking steps to deal with that,” said Manungo.
“We are doing our best to provide minimum levels of resources to guarantee… operations.”
Zimbabwe’s government has over the years struggled to pay its embassies’ staff on time as it struggles to revive the shattered economy amid a cash crunch.
About 80% of the country’s budget goes towards paying government workers, according to Finance Minister Patrick Chinamasa.
Zimbabwe has been saddled with a financial crisis for over a decade following President Robert Mugabe’s land reforms which decimated farming, the backbone of the economy.
Thousands of companies have shut down or migrated to neighbouring countries as they faced viability problems due to the perpetual liquidity shortage.
Growth is expected to weaken further this year, according to the International Monetary Fund.
Investors have been scared off by the country’s indigenisation laws, which require locals to hold majority stakes in all firms.