A bit of honesty?

9 05 2007

The Herald is the daily mouthpiece of the government and most of the time it is just plain irritating amongst the bad journalism but on occaision it delivers a gem. In the bank today someone was reading today’s copy and I saw the title on the front page, “Major Power Cuts Loom”. There are power cuts all the time in Zimbabwe, all for the sake of saving power and valuable foreign currency. But this one was something different. My bookkeeper had seen the paper and she said it was all to ensure the wheat farmers got enough power to run the pumps to irrigate their winter wheat. Hold on, are we so short of power that we all have to endure power cuts of up to 20 hours a day to ensure the wheat is grown? Now that’s a new one. Once upon a time Zimbabwe produced all it’s own wheat requirements and we did not have to go short on domestic power for the farmers to grow the wheat. Why ARE we so short of power? Well, maintenance has not been done on local power plants (trashed economy = no money) and we cannot afford to import power either. It does not help that local power charges are quite pathetic (and controlled by the government which owns the only power company).

To whit:
Power bill for April for my company   –   $158693.88 ($5.29) for 3461 kWh
Bottle of cheapish South African wine    –    $134000 ($4.46)
Blanket for single bed, locally made   –   $495000 ($16.50)
Cheese 135g                                            –    $80920 ($2.69)!!!
Dentist  consultation                                –    $300000 ($10)
– filling                                                    – $800000-$1.2m($26-$40)

Figures in brackets are rough US dollar equivalent. Daft isn’t it?



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