Zimbabwe orders wage freeze to combat 7,600% inflation

HARARE, Aug 31, 2007 (AFP) – Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe has banned all pay rises without authorisation and given himself extra powers in a new bid to curb the world’s highest inflation rate, state media said Friday. As part of the measures, all rents, school fees and service charges must be frozen for the next six months.

“No one in private or public sectors can now raise salaries, wages, rents, service charges, prices and school fees on account of increases or anticipated increases in the consumer price index, the official and unofficial exchange rates, or valued added tax and duty,” said the government-controlled Herald newspaper.

Increases in salaries or fees can only be made with specific approval from the national incomes and prices commission, a body headed by Mugabe, and without any link to the inflation rate which currently stands at over 7,600 percent.

“The net effect of the charges will be to push inflation down since all increases will be by less than the current inflation rate,” the report said.

“Those who breach the standards set by the commission when increasing pay, fees or prices can be fined … jailed for up to six months, or given both punishments,” it added.

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