HomeBusiness DigestTwo zeros back: ZSE chief

Two zeros back: ZSE chief

Shame Makoshori

A STOCK market executive has said that two of the three zeros removed from the country’s revalued currency in August had already made an astounding

come back barely five months after being eliminated.

Emmanuel Munyukwi, the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange (ZSE) chief executive officer, said “two zeros are already back” on the defenceless currency, under increasing pressure from run-away inflation currently topping 1 000% year-on-year.

Munyukwi, who was speaking to journalists at a business workshop last week, said the ZSE’s system had “crashed” due to an overload of zeros long before Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) governor Gideon Gono lopped three zeros from the currency under an operation code-named Project Sunrise, but warned there were tell-tale signs the three zeros could bounce back soon.

“Right now as we do our transactions you can easily see that two zeros are already back,” Munyukwi said.

His remarks appeared to reinforce views expressed by Finance minister Herbert Murerwa in September that the three zeros were likely to re-emerge after telling a parliamentary committee that the country’s mounting economic woes were a result of poor productivity and not the zeros in the currency.

Zimbabwe’s economy is currently going through its worst crisis in history, characterised by run-away inflation as well as food, fuel and foreign currency shortages.

Year-on-year inflation surged from 1 023% in September to 1070% in October, according to statistics released on Friday by the Central Statistical Office.

Gono made radical currency adjustments in August, slashing three zeros from the dollar and coming up with a new set of bearer cheques in a bid to stem rampant speculation in the economy which he has blamed for fuelling inflation.

Munyukwi said he was worried that the re-emergence of the two zeroes could disrupt stock exchange operations but said such a threat could be eliminated by the acquisition of suitable information technology for the ZSE. This, however, required foreign currency which was not readily available, he said.

In any case, the software had already been identified but the exchange was failing to raise the US$1,5 million required to buy it.

The ZSE has 78 listed companies represented sectorally as follows:

Manufacturing 33%, agriculture 16%, financial services 15%, technology 2%, mining 6%, retail 13%, tourism 2%.

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