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Biti set for Manchester GNU review
05/12/2012 00:00:00
by Staff Reporter
 
Manchester talk ... Tendai Biti
 
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MDC-T secretary general and Finance Minister Tendai is, on Friday, expected to present a paper on the experience of working with President Robert Mugabe and his Zanu PF party in unity government at the University of Manchester.

Biti has been in charge of the country’s finances since his MDC-T party joined Zanu PF in a coalition government following violent but inconclusive elections in 2008.

A top Harare lawyer before joining politics, Biti is praised world-wide for his stewardship of the country’s economy over the last three years, a view not shared, however, by Zanu PF which accuses him of refusing to support the key agriculture sector.

In a statement, Manchester University said: “He (Biti) is especially noted for reducing inflation from an estimated 500 million percent in December 2008 to single digits within three months of taking over the ministry.

“In 2009, he officially launched a controversial report by BWPI which among other policy recommendations urged the Government to set aside tax credits to compensate the mainly white farmers who lost their land.”

Dr Admos Chimhowu of the university’s Brooks World Poverty Institute added: “Tendai Biti has played a major part in presiding over this economic stabilisation and growth.

“Following the formation of a Government of National Unity (GNU) in March 2009, Zimbabwe is emerging from a decade of socio-economic decline.

“Conditions have improved markedly now. Although poverty levels are still high, welfare conditions continue to improve and life expectancy has risen to 50 years and inflation fallen just above 3.5 per cent

“But more importantly, the economy has recorded four years of growth.”

Fresh polls are expected next year to end the shaky coalition government which, despite helping ease political tensions and stabilising the economy, has been riven by deep divisions between Zanu PF and the MDC formations.

Both Mugabe and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai agree the arrangement is no longer workable because of policy differences but the MDC-T leader wants political reforms completed to ensure free and fair elections.

A referendum on the country’s new constitution is expected to be held early next year leading to the fresh polls in March.


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