The day I missed being a quadrillionaire

30 07 2008

It was even on BBC radio this evening; Zimbabwe has knocked 10 zeros off its currency. As I was due to go and collect fictitious wages from the bank (I’d posted the withdrawl application on Monday) I thought it would be a good idea to find out what they knew as what we are told on local radio and what the bank are told don’t always tie up. Well, the 10 zeros (didn’t anyone tell them that currency works in thousands?) disappearing was true enough but what I didn’t know was that there is a plan afoot to use the old “real” currency until the new (without the 0’s) gets printed (probably by the Chinese as the German company that used to do it has come under pressure to stop). Colin, my bank manager, told me that today someone had come in with a box of the old currency (it pre-dates the current bearer cheques) for disposal. He suggested that he keep it. Nobody is really sure what this all means but it is possible that the old money that I have lying in my drawer is worth more than then 100 billion notes (which are now worth 1$) that I collected from the bank this afternoon. It is possible that there are people out there in the rural areas who kept hold of the old money because they missed the deadline to hand it in who are now very wealthy! I see too possible consequences; fed up with this confusion those who can are going to use a meaningful currency and in solving the problem of the zeros they are going to drive inflation to the point where today’s multimillion percent inflation will soon be a fond memory!

This morning an export company approached me to grow some seedlings urgently. Normally I’d insist on a 50% deposit up front but being something of an emergency I allowed them to bring the seed and we’d settle later. This lot are not the easiest bunch to deal with but I sensed a bit of an advantage. My book keeper knows the financial director so getting his personal number was easy. I gave him a call and mentioned that I’d had to print out the Zim dollar proforma on a laser printer that could accommodate all the zeros (it came to 88 quadrillion – 88,000,000,000,000,000) so he saw the reasoning to go for the US dollar payment of 816. It’s an offshore transfer but that’s a close second to getting it here. So I missed out on being a quadrillionaire – but just give it a few months!



2 responses

31 07 2008

So all that cash on the BBQ was not such a good idea!!!!!!

1 08 2008

Was wondering when you’d remember that! No, actually it’s the money before that which can be used and even then only the coins. I still have a tin of them on my desk but not enough to generate excitement.

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