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By Staff Reporter

ZIMBABWE'S annual inflation surged to 3,713.9 percent in April compared to 2,200.2 percent in March, ahead of a new pricing and incomes law approved by President Robert Mugabe in a fresh bid to rein in the inflation spiral.

The Central Statistical Office (CSO) said monthly inflation jumped by 100.7 percent in April compared to 50.5 percent in March, confirming that Zimbabwe is suffering from hyperinflation as defined by economists and monetary authorities.

The CSO attributed the jump to the soaring cost of domestic power, meat, vegetables, gas, and other fuels, as well as passenger transport.

The annual inflation rate has been on a roller-coaster ride since December 2004 when it shot up to 622.8 percent. In March this year it breached the 2,000 percent mark to reach 2,200 percent.

Mugabe approved Monday the incomes and pricing commission act to monitor and control prices and incomes as part of a clutch of measures to tame the country's galloping inflation.

"The commission is considered an essential part of the process to slow down inflation and eventually bring it down to single digits while at the same time minimizing its damage on the pocket of the ordinary person by dealing with incomes as well as prices," the official Herald reported Thursday.

The government in April 2006 unveiled an economic blueprint to try and revive the country's moribund economy within nine months by, among others, generating foreign currency, attracting more foreign tourism, and improving agricultural production.

The initiative has thus far yielded little.

The southern African country is in the seventh year of economic recession characterized by high inflation, massive unemployment, and chronic shortages of foreign currency and basic goods like fuel and the staple cornmeal.

Central bank chief Gideon Gono described inflation, often referred to as "our number one enemy" in official speeches, as "the economic HIV."


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