Lack of Inflation Figures Affects Listed Companies

THE Central Statistical Office’s (CSO) failure to announce inflation figures for the seven months will affect listed companies that are expected to announce their year end financial results by end of next month.

The failure by CSO to announce the figures has also affected companies’ future planning as many unofficial figures have been announced since July last year.

CSO last announced the inflation figure at 231 million percent for July last year. Their official excuse has been that there were no products to measure inflation.

Zimbabwe Stock Exchange (ZSE) chief executive Emmanuel Munyukwi is on record confirming the potential crisis that existed when companies work on their financial results in the absence of an official inflation figure.

“We remain hopeful that the inflation figures will be released,” Munyukwi said. “We will see what action we will have to take when the time comes and the deadlines lapse.”

ZSE regulations require listed companies to publish audited financial statements which should be adjusted for inflation in line with International Accounting Standard (IAS) 29 and released within three months of financial year endings unless a prior agreement was made between the local bourse and the firm.

IAS 29 recommends inflation-adjusted accounts for hyper-inflationary economies when a population prefers to keep its wealth in non-monetary assets or stable foreign currency and when amounts of local currency are only held for immediate usage.

Institute of Chartered Secretaries and Administrators (ICSA) told businessdigest early this year that the delays in releasing official inflation figures posed a real challenge to listed companies.

Government has made it illegal to use any figures which are not CSO-generated.

Listed companies have been lobbying government to allow them to publish their audited financial statements in US dollars by amending the Companies Act.

However, this option suffered serious setbacks before the country was dollarised. Financial results for the interim period ending June 30 2009 are however expected to be in US dollars.