HARARE, Zimbabwe — Zimbabwe's finance minister said Thursday he will plow $600 million in new revenue from diamonds into the nation's ailing health, water and power services.

Finance Minister Tendai Biti said since the world diamond regulatory body eased controls on diamond exports this month he has been promised the money next year, and "I pray it will be more."

Biti presented the national budget to lawmakers Thursday. He said the diamond exports will enable proposed government expenditure in 2012 to reach $4 billion.

Massive diamond deposits were discovered in eastern Zimbabwe in 2006 but exports have been restricted. Rights groups described them as "blood diamonds" amid evidence of killings and human rights violations, but this month the Kimberley Process control body said Zimbabwe now met minimum standards allowing for legalized exports.

In past months, Biti has complained that only about $80 million dollars worth of diamond earnings found their way into national coffers after three limited diamond auctions were approved by the world control body. The eastern diamond fields were sealed off by the military and smuggling across the porous border with neighboring Mozambique was rife, witnesses and police in Mozambique said.

Biti said in the struggling economy, the nation's exports were expected to raise $5.1 billion next year, but imports mainly of gasoline, food, vehicles and machinery would likely need payouts of up $6.8 billion.

"That is a huge amount for a small economy like ours," he said.

He said pay for the 235,000 civil servants and government employees including the armed forces and teachers would account for 67 percent of the government's expenditure but overall revenues and overspending were "disastrous."

He said Zimbabwe was spending more than it was earning, citing a saying that local hunters use: "We should eat what we kill. We are killing rats and eating elephants."

Economic meltdown in Zimbabwe began with the often violent seizures of thousands of white-owned farms in 2000, leading to the eventual collapse of health and education services and public utilities.

Biti estimated $2 billion was needed to restore agriculture that would return Zimbabwe to its former status of self sufficiency. But, he said he was only able to find $226 million in the state budget for agricultural development and loans and other financing were being sought for more.