Harare: Zimbabwe's economy should grow 6.4 percent in 2014, a big jump from the 3.4 percent projected for this year, backed by a recovering agriculture sector and better mining performance, finance minister Patrick Chinamasa said on Thursday.
President Robert Mugabe, who won a disputed election on July 31, struggles with an economy that is shedding jobs, failing to woo foreign investors and racked by electricity shortages.
Nonetheless, Chinamasa predicted the economy will grow at a faster pace in 2014. "This is anchored on a strong recovery of the agriculture sector and improved performance in mining and the construction industry," he told parliament in his budget speech.
Zimbabwe faced a mid-season drought this year, which reduced agriculture output and the U.N. World Food Programme has said the country faces its worst food shortages in four years, with up to 2.2 million people needing food relief.
Faced with declining revenues, Chinamasa said the government would from next month increase royalties on diamond sales to 15 percent, from 10 percent in January.
Foreign investors have remained on the sidelines, sceptical of Zimbabwe's policies, including the controversial black economic empowerment programme that forces foreign-owned firms to sell majority shares to blacks.
The policy, known locally as indigenisation will not change, he said. "I want to re-affirm that the indigenisation laws are here to stay and there will be no amendments to annul or dilute them," he said.
- The budget statement, 264 pages, can be acccessed here.