Money printing Zimbabwe see year of record inflation, price controls and shortages in 2007

Chandi Dharmaratne

HARARE, Dec 27, 2007 (AFP) – After a year which saw the official inflation rate surge to 8,000 percent, shelves run dry and opposition leaders beaten up, few people in Zimbabwe can wait to see the back of 2007.

While veteran President Robert Mugabe hopes to secure a seventh term of office in elections next year, he is unlikely to trade heavily on his government’s recent economic performance.

“In short the last year has been a complete disaster,” said Calisto Jokonya, president of the Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries.

“All the policies that were put in place did not work, be it from the reserve bank and the ministry of finance. Inflation soared, goods disappeared from the shops, cash also disappeared. This was the year of queues.”

When he presented the budget for the coming 12 months a year ago, the then finance minister Herbert Murerwa said inflation which stood at just over 1,000 percent should drop to below 400 percent by September.

A few weeks later Murerwa was out of a job and his forecast was shown to be as worthless as a 100,000 Zimbabwe dollar bill, for come September the year-on-year inflation rate stood at at a mind-boggling 7,892.1 percent.

Since that announcement, th