Thirteen cents an hour in Zimbabwe

Turning my head to try to understand the recent economic irrationality of Zimbabwe, I set off in the early morning fog.

Winter is coming, the sunrise is at 6:14 in the morning but the fog hangs over the valley every day for a long time, hiding trees and cobwebs, rocks and rivers and often it takes three or four hours for the sun to shine and let’s see what’s really there.

At the first corner of the path three zebras suddenly appeared out of the fog, they were grazing and looked up but did not run, my scent faded in the fog but their stripes flickered against the rocks and golden grass.


Every morning in Zimbabwe you first see your phone, not for time, date, weather or missed calls, but for the exchange rate.

Every day we need to make a note of three important facts to survive the recent economic crisis in Zimbabwe.

As usual there is nothing simple about it, in fact it is as clear as trees and rocks hidden in the fog.

Here are the RBZ (Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe) rates, interbank rates and road rates:

  • The RBZ rate is the exchange rate set by the government for the US dollar;
  • The interbank rate is the rate at which quotes are widely used for goods and services; And
  • The street rate is exactly the amount you can get for your US dollars if you buy or sell them on the street.

Last fortnight a new ‘Economic Stability System’ was introduced.

“We are aware that there are some people who are working with the opposition to change the regime by manipulating our exchange rates and raising unreasonable prices,” he said.

Hmmm, here we go again. Jim Dollar lost about 50% of its value overnight.

Check out these numbers from my last column a fortnight ago to get an idea of ​​how crazy everything is again.

US $ 1 in Zimbabwean dollars
RBZ rate Interbank rate Road rate Inflation
May 19 159 310 360 207%
May 9 275 310 450 207%
May 13 278 310 450 256%
May 20 291 340 450 256%


The ‘economic stabilization’ measures are the exact opposite of stabilizing anything and include:

  1. Prohibit lending to banks; It immediately stopped paying dividends to companies, with agro-processing companies writing to suppliers saying they were suspending advance payments and even asking warehouses to stop supplying livestock.
  2. Zimbabwe retains 2% withdrawal tax on dollar.
  3. A new 4% tax on sending USD locally.
  4. Withdraw 2% for Nostro account (local account containing foreign currency).
  5. Gain 40% capital on shares sold nine months ago.

Jafet Mayo, secretary general of the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU), said: “We are concerned about the nocturnal announcement of these measures without any social dialogue.”

He said the “economic stability system” could lead to massive job cuts.

A week later, RBZ said the loan suspension order did not apply to tobacco, cotton, sugar and maize.

Then, in what is being called a “political ploy” to calm the troubled population, the government announced the suspension of import duties on a number of basic commodities, including salt, rice, flour, sugar, margarine, cornmeal, milk powder and baby formula. , Tea, soap, toothpaste and washing powder.

Kurai Matsheja, president of the Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries, said: “Economies around the world are now exploring and protecting their industries. Here we are doing the opposite. ”

“If you look at the value chains that are involved, they are killing our economy,” he added.

By Zimbabwe Lobby Group said: “This development will likely reverse the benefits of industrialization in the supply of basic products by local industries.”

I’m not an economist, just an ordinary citizen, and all this is as clear as fog.

All I know is that people without access to the US dollar have serious problems. On Friday night (May 20) the news of the new wage set by the government came.

Read this and cry …

Z $ 11,025 per month for child-minded or disabled / adults (which is US $ 26.20 per month at current rates today) or Z $ 55.68 per hour (which is 13 US cents per hour at current rates today).

Thirteen US cents per hour to care for a child, disabled or elderly parent what kind of inhumanity is that?

Shame on Zimbabwe.

Copyright © Kathy Buckle

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