More and more people are leaving their groceries at the tills in the supermarkets these days as Zimbabwe’s economic crisis deepens.
The government stopped declaring the annual inflation rate when it hit 175% in June 2019 but international economist Steve Hanke says it is now 723%. In the past week, a loaf of bread has increased from Z$7 to Z$9.70; it was less than a dollar at the beginning of the year. Even the most basic items have become luxuries and most people have long since stopped buying milk, cheese, yoghurt, meat, fruit, and even breakfast cereals are now unaffordable with a simple box of locally produced Bran Flakes now costing Z$50.
It’s a devastating time in our lives but particularly for pensioners who saw all their savings decimated in February 2019 when the government declared that all bank accounts had been converted from US dollars to Zimbabwe dollars. Unable to withdraw any of their money from the bank due to chronic cash shortages, Zimbabweans watched helplessly as all their savings and pensions evaporated as the new Zimbabwe dollar lost value by the day.
In just six months the buying power of every $100 dollar in the bank has crashed to less than $9 dollars and it continues to decline every day.
Every day pensioners ask if it’s safe to cut their tablets in half or to stop taking them altogether because they just can’t afford both food and medicine.
Add to this nightmare electricity cuts of 18 hours a day and you get a taste of life in Zimbabwe in September 2019.
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Image: Courtesy of The Citizen