Zimbabwe’s central bank chief has urged a six-month price and salary freeze in a bid to rein in runaway inflation, with the country in the midst of an economic meltdown.
Said Gideon Gono “Zimbabweans must realise that the country is in a practically binding state of socio-economic emergency,”
“As such, there is need for a universal moratorium on all incomes and prices for a minimum period of six months,” said Gono.
He has repeatedly called for price and wage freezes in the past.
The latest proposal came as the central bank unveiled a new series of bank notes on Friday after knocking off 10 zeros from its currency.
It also comes with Zimbabwe’s ruling and opposition parties set to resume talks on Sunday to resolve the country’s political crisis following Robert Mugabe’s one-man election in June that handed him a new term as president.
As the new currency rolled in shop owners hiked prices by 100 percent.
Once a model for the region, Zimbabwe is in the throes of economic crisis with inflation officially at 2.2 million percent and at least 80% of the population living below the poverty threshold.
The opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) said the country’s battered economy would only recover if full-scale production resumed in local industries.
“The MDC believes that no amount of tinkering with currency denominations will address the Zimbabwean crisis,” the party’s secretary for economic affairs Elton Mangoma said in a statement.
“As long as there is no production, we will continue to move in circles as a country.”
Last year, the government set up a commission to monitor and control prices and incomes. Violators of the price ceiling pay fines.