Foreign currency rates shoot to record high

Foreign currency rates in Zimbabwe have shot to a record high following the adjustment of civil servants' salaries.

The salary rise, widely seen as Robert Mugabe’s ploy to buy the vote of increasingly disillusioned government workers, is also certain to push the inflation even higher than the current staggering 1.7m per cent.

The civil servants, some of whom were last month earning about Z$5bn, have had their salaries raised to between Z$50bn and Z$70bn, depending on the ministry they work for.

Soldiers’ salaries are said to have been raised to as high as Z$150bn.

Snaking queues have formed outside banks, as they fail to meet the demand, even though a new family of bearer cheques – agro-cheques – that come in Z$5bn, Z$25bn and Z$50bn denominations have been introduced.

On Monday, one US dollar was equivalent to Z$1.7bn on the parallel market. The South African rand was trading at one to Z$240m, while the Botswana pula was fetching Z$300m. – CAJ News

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