Zimbabwe had $217 in the bank last week

Zimbabwe's Finance Minister Tendai Biti presents his mid-term budget speech in Harare on July 26,...

Zimbabwe's Finance Minister Tendai Biti presents his mid-term budget speech in Harare on July 26, 2011. (REUTERS/Philimon Bulawayo)

QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 1:48 PM ET

Chances are, you have more money right now than Zimbabwe had last week.

Finance Minister Tendai Biti told the BBC the south African country had $217 left in its public account last week after it paid civil servants.

Not to panic, though. The country got $30 million in revenue the next day.

Biti made the statement to emphasize that Zimbabwe cannot afford to hold its upcoming election and referendum.

"You journalists are mischievous and malicious -- the point I was making was that the Zimbabwean government doesn't have the funds to finance the election, to finance the referendum," he later told the broadcaster.

Biti and Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa are trying to find donors to fund the country's upcoming $200-million election and referendum. High unemployment means the government doesn't collect much in taxes, and Biti says diamond mining companies are notorious for not paying revenues they owe to the government.


Videos

Photos