The Million dollar chicken

ZIMBABWE - With Zimbabwes official inflation now at 913 per cent, (international accountants say it is closer to 1500 percent,) its a pain going shopping.

A decent sized whole chicken cost nearly a million Zimdollars this week. Its hard getting enough money to pay for a couple of baskets of basics as there are long queues in banks, and the automatic cash machines are always "run out of funds or jammed. Imagine being an accountant and checking the overdraft.

Interest rates are officially about 783 per cent. Last week it was 750 percent. A medium sized engineering company had an overdraft of Z$10 billion in December. Now it owes the bank Z$65 billion. It cant pay. In theory its trading figures should have kept its overdraft manageable as the value of the Zimbabwe dollar shrinks daily.

In reality its not OK as this company like all others has to charge out its goods and services in local currency, that is Zimbabwe dollars. So while its overdraft has been fairly constant at about £130 000, (calculated at black market rates) the Zimbabwe dollar numbers have forced this company to the brink.

Three years ago it employed 300 people, most of them skilled technicians in mining engineering. Today it employs 94 and needs to cut that number to 12 to try and stay alive for better days, if there are ever better days. No one knows how high these extraordinary figures - inflation and interest rates - will go, nor what will happen when they continue to climb, minute by minute.

Source: Zim Observer
calendar icon 17 April 2006
clock icon 1 minute read
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