Just two weeks after Zimbabwe’s finance minister revealed that employment costs were absorbing more than 60 per cent of total government revenue, the state-owned Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe has announced plans to cut at least 1,600 workers.

Giving evidence to the parliamentary portfolio committee on finance and the budget, Gideon Gono, central bank governor, said the retrenchment of three-quarters of the bank’s staff would be one of the largest to be carried out in the country by a single institution. Read more

Three strongboxes of diamonds, weighing 29kg, have been taken from the central bank by police, violating orders from the country’s Supreme Court.

The removal is the latest in a long-running dispute between mines minister Obert Mpofu and British-registered mining company, African Consolidated Resources, over ownership of Chiadzwa claims. Chiadzwa is considered the world’s biggest diamond discovery in a century and could yield more than $1bn annually. In 2006, ACR was forced from its property at gunpoint; the courts later ruled this illegal. Read more

Zimbabwe’s central bank owes mining companies “a substantial sum of money” that it is unable to repay at the moment, the Mines Minister says. Zimbabwe “empathises with the mining companies and feels obliged to make good,” Obert Mpofu said at a presentation in Cape Town today. (from Bloomberg)