By Leopold Munhende
ZIMBABWE’s year on year inflation now stands at 591% according to government critic, economist and currency trader Professor Steve Hanke despite stubborn claims by Finance Minister Mthuli Ncube it is only 20%.
Hanke who has constantly questioned Ncube’s inflation rates as understatements said on Tuesday he remains the only accurate source of Zimbabwe’s annual inflation rate.
“Since Zimbabwe has stopped reporting annual inflation statistics, I am the only accurate source of Zimbabwe’s annual rate.
“The annual inflation rate is a stunning 591%/year today. To crush it Zimbabwe must dollarise,” said Hanke.
In August Ncube took an unprecedented step and suspended announcements of annual inflation rates until February next year.
Said Ncube: “The change in currency regime from multi-currecny to Zimbabwe dollar has definitely impacted on the base for calculation of CPI indices and hence inflation.
“Give this transition, Zimbabwe National Statistical Agency will defer publication of year on year inflation while building up data of prices in mono-currency for a period of 12 months to February 2020.”
That has however not stopped independent economists.
In June government scrapped a multi-currency system that stabilised Zimbabwe’s economy after some two decades of hyperinflation that stood at 79 million percent in 2008.
The local dollar was floated and has lost value by over US$1: $15 on the parallel.
Prices of basic goods and services have skyrocketed out of the reach of many including civil servants who until recently were getting just about the equivalent of US$40.