Ncube shoots down Hanke’s 290 percent Zim inflation figures

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By Alois Vinga

FINANCE Minister Mthuli Ncube has dismissed United States economist and currency expert Steven Hanke’s claims the country’s inflation was much higher than the official figures presented by authorities.

Hanke recently put Zimbabwe’s inflation at 290 percent, presenting it as second highest in the world after Venezuela.

On the contrary, the Zimbabwe National Statistics Agency recently put the country’s inflation rate at 57 percent.

Briefing guests at a Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe monetary policy review breakfast meeting last Friday, Ncube expressed doubt over the methodology being employed by Hanke in determining the country’s inflation figures.

“Coming to issues being raised by Hanke, one has to know that there are many ways to calculate inflation.

“In Zimbabwe, we have a very constant way of using the household basket to calculate inflation and that basket. Our inflation rate year on year is what it is as published,” he said.

Ncube added, “Hanke is using something else like the replacement cost approach to calculate inflation which is why he is coming up with much higher figures.

“He must not spend time quarrelling with us. We hear him, we know it. Figures are what they are and there is no need to fight because figures are what they are because of different methods to calculate inflation.”

The minister said what he only respected from Hanke’s findings was the message that inflation was something to worry about and hence, needed to be dealt with.

Zimbabwe’s economy has been going through turbulence due to failure by government to expand the national cake, lack of a stable currency and political instability.