Profiteering

14 05 2007

Like any government that is making a complete mess of things, the Zim government likes to shed the blame elsewhere. Profiteering in the private sector is a favourite scapegoat for driving inflation. Sometimes they are right.

I was chatting to Barry down in the industrial sites at lunchtime today, biding my time until the businesses opened from their lunch break. Barry knows how to relax and has just come back from two weeks on the Mozambique coast. He noticed that when he got back the business from which he buys his wood working screws had put up their prices by 400%. This particular  business imports its screws and other industrial fasteners from South Africa so one can expect them to put up the prices with the “parallel” exchange rate but I KNOW that it has not changed 400%. In fact the rand has gone from 1:4000 to 1:5000 in that time. So the charge of profiteering is valid.

Lengthy water cuts are a common phenomenon in Harare these days, and surprisingly they are not always linked to the power cuts. Earlier, whilst waiting for a plastic sheeting order (it had been placed 4 months ago so a bit more waiting was nothing too serious), I looked up into the roofing of the particular warehouse where I was and examined the sprinkler system.  Yes, I was seriously bored. It occurred to me that it was probably completely useless a large proportion of the time – no water.

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