ZTV blacks out finance minister budget statement


Earlier, the infrastructure to beam the event live was set up outside parliament, with a ZBC outside broadcasting van stationed outside the august house.

It was not immediately clear why the ZTV did not beam the supplementary budget statement. This is the first budget statement that has been presented to Parliament without live broadcast.

ZTV has shown its open bias in the inclusive government. The MDC information department has been forced to write to ZTV CEO Happison Muchechetere complaining about the blackout of party activities and the Prime Minister’s functions and press briefings.

The blackout of the Finance minister’s statement was said to have been on instructions from the information ministry, pointedly from George Charamba, the permanent secretary in the ministry.

Charamba was not immediately available for comment.With a civil servants’ strike looming, Biti was expected to announce improved benefits for state workers. Civil servants have already made it clear they are ready to down tools if Biti cannot find the money to increase their salaries.

At present, all civil servants earn the same – a paltry US100 a month and teachers were particularly eagerly awaiting the budget statement. Business was also miffed by the decision to blackout the supplementary budget. "Its surprising that they have taken this decision given how important this presentation is," said a financial analyst in Harare.

Biti was expected to give an assessment of the performance of the unity government against its agreed action plans and how much money government has raised so far.
He has said it was presentation of his report card on the performance of the economy.