Cost of living shoots to ZWL$92K

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HARARE – The cost of living for a family of six jumped 18% to ZWL$92,192.89 by end of March from the same period in February due to knock on effects of the Russia-Ukraine conflict and the volatile exchange rate, the Consumer Council of Zimbabwe (CCZ) has said. At the end of February, a family of six required ZWL$78,191.39. The food basket increased to $33,092.52 by end of March 2022 from ZWL$30,281.82 by end of February 2022. The price of detergents increased by ZWL$310.40, to ZWL$2,463.87.

“All products on the basket save for meat and vegetables (cabbage and tomatoes) have increased; the most notable ones are rent 50%, transport (25%), health (50%), Sugar (22.5%) and bread 18.25%,” the CCZ said, adding that, “most of these increases follow the parallel market rate, for example, landlords are now demanding payment in US dollars which is now at ZWL$300 for US$1”.

“Moreover ongoing armed conflict between Russia and Ukraine had a knock on effect on prices of goods and services locally. The current global dynamics including disturbances in Ukraine resulted in spill over effects on domestic prices.

“Such global developments include increases in the international prices of oil, gas, fertiliser and cooking crude oil, products of which Russia and Ukraine are major producers.”

Wheat prices went up nearly 15% in early March to ZWL$136,544 per metric tonne, and the bakers have justified 18.25% increase in the price of bread.

Influence of the parallel market exchange rate to ZWL$250-ZWL$300.00 as at the end of March 2022 from ZWL$180 -ZWL$220 as at end of February 2022 was also a cost driver as some manufacturers and retailers are opting to buy US$ through this platform.

On the other hand, while companies are happy to receive official auction rate from RBZ, their pricing does not reflect the same, as prices are pegged against parallel market rates.

On another note, most retailers have gone back to discount their prices in US$ terms which goes against the provisions of Statutory Instrument185.

The survey is conducted every month.

The total cost of the food basket and the price of each commodity are arrived at by averaging prices gathered from retail outlets throughout the country.

Experts say the jump in the consumer basket will put pressure on employers to increase salaries amid fears unions would agitate for an industrial action.


[BusinessesTimes]

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