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takes over foreign firms
July 27, 2007
Harare - Zimbabwe's
embattled President Robert Mugabe opened a new session of parliament
on Tuesday expected to push through radical plans to nationalise
foreign firms ahead of a general election next year.
was seeking re-election next year despite accusations that he had
plunged the southern African state into its worst economic crisis
through a raft of controversial policies. Zimbabwe had failed to
release inflation figures for May and June prompting speculation
that they were too shocking to reveal to the population.
Here are some
details on what has happened in the last year since inflation figures
first reached 1 000%.
first 1 000%:
- Zimbabwe's annual inflation rose above 1 000% in April 2006, dramatising
the severity of its economic crisis. Official statistics revealed
the annual inflation rate at a record 1 042.9% after rising 913.6%
then in its eighth year of recession, had the fastest shrinking
economy of a country outside a war zone, according to the World
Bank, and the highest inflation rate in the world.
- Some shops
began leaving prices off commodities, saving themselves the trouble
of changing them every day. With a carton of orange juice then costing
Z$500 000 ($5) and a kilo of beef up to a Z$1m, people carried their
money in large bags even for simple shopping trips.
- The Reserve
Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) ordered redenominated notes in July 2006
to combat black marketeering and hyperinflation, lopping three zeros
off the local dollar. The move effectively devalued the Zimbabwe
dollar by 60% against its United States counterpart and fanned panic
across the southern African country.
- The breakdown of the economy heightened political tensions. Mugabe
responded by cracking down on the opposition, drawing fresh international
attention to his controversial rule. About 180 people were arrested
in September after riot police quashed labour union protests. In
March 2007, Morgan Tsvangirai, of leader of the opposition Movement
for Democratic Change (MDC), was badly beaten after he attempted
to attend a banned protest rally, spurring more international condemnation
of Mugabe's government.
bad it can get?
- Annualised inflation stood at 3 713.9% in April 2007,
a monthly rate of increase of 100.7%, according to official government
data, possibly the last government data to be released. Unofficial
reports had put inflation for May at 4 500%. Zimbabwe's central
bank on Tuesday said it was also indefinitely postponing a much
awaited mid year monetary policy statement due next week.
imported 60 000 tons of wheat to ease bread shortages after millers
ran out of the grain. The government said it did not meet its annual
consumption requirements of between 400 000 and 450 000 tons of
government recently rolled back prices of basic goods and services
to June 18 levels after increases of up to 300% in one week piled
more pressure on desperate consumers. Authorities had set up a police
unit to arrest business people who defied the order and already
more than 2 000 executives and companies had been arrested or fined,
accused of overpricing.
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