Cash Squeeze and Desperate Measures

27 09 2008

It took a lot of pleading and three hours in the bank on Thursday before I could withdraw 100000 Zim dollars )(about US$200) for wages. I had put in the applications up to 2 weeks previously but the bank was just not getting cash. I offered my senior foreman US dollars but he was surprisingly reluctant; I guess that he didn’t want the hassle of changing the money. I told him to try offeringthe US dollars instead. He eventually took them.

I see that the withdrawl limit has gone up to 20000 local dollars as from Monday. Will this mean that it will be any easier to draw money for wages? I am not really sure but I do know that the exchange rate for cash will start to run again – actually it already has just based on the information!

Walking into the cafe where I am writing this I notice a local paper had listed all the retail and wholesale outlets that have been granted licences to trade in forex. It was not a cheap exercise. 20000 US dollars for a retail licence! I believe most of the supermarkets have been granted licences. I guess a bit of competition and increased availability is a good thing but it is certainly out of the question for me; that sort of money is just way beyond my budget and at last most of my customers are paying in real money anyway. Will this mean a clamp down on those of us who cannot afford the licences but trade in real? I guess they will at least threaten a clampdown.

Even my customers who trade only on the local market are offering real money. Yesterday one of the biggest TOLD me he was going to pay in “real”. Actually, I wouldn’t have minded Zim dollars. At least it would have solved the wage issue for a while!

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