Zimbabwe Has $217 in the Bank
Government finances 'paralyzed,' minister says
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 30, 2013 12:35 AM CST
Updated Feb 3, 2013 12:28 PM CST
Zimbabwe's government account barely has enough money to buy President Robert Mugabe new shades.   (AP Photo/Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi)

(Newser) – Zimbabwe has just $217 left in its government public account after paying public workers' wages last week, says the country finance minister. "The government finances are in paralysis state at the present moment. We are failing to meet our targets," the minister said at a press conference. He told reporters that many of them had healthier bank balances than the country, but managed to refrain from asking them for a loan, AFP reports.

The minister says Zimbabwe is going to have to ask international donors for cash to fund a constitutional referendum and elections this year. The country's economy is still recovering from a near-collapse earlier this century. It abandoned its own currency and switched to the US dollar after hyper-inflation made the exchange rate nearly a trillion to one. One bright spot: The country's mining sector is booming, with diamond exports expected to top $1 billion this year.