HARARE (Los Angeles Times) - It has come to this: Zimbabwe is about to run out of the paper to print money on.
Fidelity Printers & Refiners, the state-owned company that tirelessly churns out bank notes for the Robert Mugabe regime, was thrown into a crisis early this month after a German company stopped supplying bank note paper because of concerns over Zimbabwe’s recent violent presidential election, widely seen as fraudulent by international observers.
The printing operation drastically slowed. Two-thirds of the 1,000-strong workforce was ordered to go on leave, and two of the three money-printing shifts were canceled.
The result on the streets was an immediate cash crunch.
“If you think this currency shortage is bad, wait two weeks. By then it will be a disaster,” said a senior Fidelity staffer, who spoke to The Times on condition of anonymity because he would face dismissal for talking to a Western journalist. The paper will run out in two weeks, he said.....