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Zimbabwe budget: Economic growth to slow in 2013

HARARE, Zimbabwe (AP) – Zimbabwe’s finance minister forecasts a slower economic growth rate caused by political tensions as the nation prepares for elections next year.

Finance Minister Tendai Biti said when presenting the national budget to parliament Thursday that Zimbabweans must brace for a “gnashing of teeth” as economic growth forecast at 9.8 percent for 2012 will decline to 5 percent in 2013.

Biti allocated $3.8 billion to government spending with more than half going to civil servants’ salaries.

He warned against violence in the upcoming elections that could lead to a collapse of the “economic foundation” achieved by the four-year-old coalition between Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe’s ZANU-PF and the Movement for Democratic Change. He said political uncertainty has scared away foreign direct investment.

Biti is a former opposition politician in the coalition.

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