Zimbabwe announced Wednesday that it is knocking 10 zeros off its hyper-inflated currency - a move that turns 10 billion dollars into one.The report goes on to say
President Robert Mugabe threatened a state of emergency if businesses profiteer from the country's economic crisis, a move that could give him even more sweeping powers to punish opponents in the event that political power-sharing talks fail.The report also notes why the zero have been dropped.
"Entrepreneurs across the board, don't drive us further," Mugabe warned in a nationally televised address after the currency announcement. "If you drive us even more, we will impose emergency measures. ... They can be tough rules."
Gono, the central bank governor, acted because the high rate of inflation is hampering the country's computer systems. Computers, electronic calculators and automated teller machines at Zimbabwe's banks cannot handle basic transactions in billions and trillions of dollars.Will this reduce inflation? No, as it does not deal with the real cause of the problem, but only a symptom. As the report says
Inflation, the highest in the world, is officially running at 2.2 million percent in Zimbabwe, but independent economists say it is closer to 12.5 million percent.
Economist John Robertson said the new bills will soon be worthless, because the inflation rate continues to skyrocket. What costs $1 at the beginning of the month can cost $20 by month's end, he said.This report from the Washington Post tells us
"This is attending only to the symptoms of the problem. The real problem is the scarcity of everything driving up the prices. ... The government has not only caused the scarcities but damaged our ability to fix the problem."
At the root, he said, is the damage to the farming sector, along with government raids on the state pension fund and foreign currency bank accounts of businesses.
Zimbabwe's money shortages, inflation and chronic shortages of food, gasoline, medicine and most basic goods have brought many businesses in Harare to a standstill. Smaller shops and at least four main restaurants have shut down.No one should be surprised that this is happening. With the Zimbabwe dollar worthless, it is sensible for people to move to another median of exchange. The new notes will do nothing to change this. It is impossible to believe that people will assume that the government will stop printing money money just because it issues new notes and coins.
State media reported Saturday that nightclubs were canceling music shows because audiences dried up after a 2,000 percent increase in prices for beer and soft drinks in the past week. Several bars and clubs were openly accepting U.S. dollars, even though that is against the law