* Finance minister says 'not keen' to borrow for elections
* Could introduce taxes, includes mining sector
By Philip Baillie
LONDON, April 24 Zimbabwe could introduce new
taxes on its mining sector to help fund July elections instead
of borrowing on the debt markets, Finance Minister Tendai Biti
said on Wednesday.
Zimbabwe, which is on the verge of bankruptcy, withdrew a
request for U.N. election funding last week, saying the United
Nations had tried to "interfere" in security matters and the
"The fact of the matter is that Zimbabwe does not have the
resources for funding the election," Biti said in a speech in
The U.N. loan agreement, thought to be worth $132 million,
would have helped fund a viable election for a country that has
suffered contested and bloody elections in recent years.
On April 15, Biti said South Africa would offer Zimbabwe a
$100 million loan as an alternative, though a treasury
spokeswoman said the two governments were only "engaged in
Biti, an ally of Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangarai, who
forged an uneasy power-sharing deal with President Robert Mugabe
in 2008 after bloody and disputed elections, said he was "not
keen to borrow".
Aside from enacting fuel duties, which came into effect on
March 9 and raised $80 million, Biti said he would consider
introducing three or four other taxes, including some on the
mining sector, likely to affect the world's two largest platinum
miners, Anglo American and Impala Platinum.
Under an "indigenisation" policy, Zimbabwe has been
demanding that foreign companies, particularly mining firms but
also banks, transfer a 51 percent stake in local operations to
Mugabe's ZANU-PF party proposed a legislative amendment this
week that would have seized majority stakes in foreign-owned
mines before the elections, prompting suspicions the money would
be used to fund his campaign.
The amendment, which requires the approval of a parliament
dominated by the MDC, to pass is unlikely to go through.
(Additional reporting by Nelson Banya in Harare; Editing by