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Zimbabwe's Mugabe Says Govt. Will Print More Money to Meet Expenses

Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe says his government may have to print more money to meet the nation's expenses.

Saturday's edition of the state-run Herald newspaper reports that the president made the comment to a group of local officials in the capital, Harare, late Friday.

He urged the officials - mayors and city council members - to be responsive to the needs of citizens and to be aggressive in providing services. He told them that if no money for the projects is found, he will order more to be printed.

Zimbabwe is in the midst of a severe financial crisis, with rising unemployment and an inflation rate that analysts say has topped 4,500 percent.

In an effort to curb the problem, the government ordered price cuts of up to 50 percent on many basic goods late last month.

Many retailers and manufacturers initially ignored the order, prompting police to arrest hundreds of business owners.

The nation is facing critical shortages of staples such as food and fuel.

Critics blame the situation largely on the government's economic policies, especially the transfer of white-owned farmland to blacks with little farming experience. Zimbabwe's agricultural production has plunged since then, contributing to food shortages and inflation.

President Mugabe blames the economic problems on sanctions against his government by Britain and the United States.

Some information for this report was provided by AP.