The cost of living for a family of six rose by 9% to ZWL$14,256.98 from the June levels due to an uptick in prices on the depreciation of the local currency against the United States dollar.At the end of June, a family of six required ZWL$13,026.17.
The rise in the cost of living comes at a time the government in July foiled planned demonstrations against the skyrocketing prices and rising corruption.
In a bid to try to cushion civil servants from rampant inflation, the government in June hiked civil servants’ and pensioners’ salaries by 50% and also cushioned them with US$75 and US$30 respectively in allowances. The Consumer Council of Zimbabwe (CCZ) told Business Times that the recent increase in fuel prices could have a negative impact on foodstuff prices.
“The cost of living for the low-income earner’s monthly basket for a family of six increased by 9% to ZWL$14,256.98 by end of July from ZWL$13 026.17 by end of June, indicating a ZWL$1,230.81 increase,” CCZ said.
“The food basket has increased by 12% to ZWL$10,581 by the end of July from ZWL$9,422 by the end of June. “As CCZ we attribute the increase of family basket to constant changes of parallel market rates, increase in fuel prices, and limited supply of some products.”
The consumer watchdog body said the coronavirus lockdown and its related restrictions on the movement of consumers and suppliers contributed to a further deterioration of the country’s production and to deepen the already severe food shortage, negative impact on increased food imports and transportation costs.
Public Servants Association president Cecilia Alexander told Business Times that surging coronavirus cases has stalled remunerations negotiations.
“We haven’t proceeded the way we wanted with negotiations due to the fact that very few people are coming to work due to surging coronavirus cases. Therefore, our demands which we have tabled are yet to be addressed with the Labour ministry,” Alexander said.
The development comes at a time when the country is experiencing the worst inflationary situation since dollarisation in 2009 as the local currency continues to plunge against the United States dollar.
The parallel market exchange rate currentlystands at 1:100 against the official rate at 1:83. The economy is currently experiencing subdued production across all economic sectors including Zimbabwe’s major economic drivers which are gold and tobacco, leaving a situation whereby the country is using elusive forex to import most goods.
Despite the ravaging high cost of living, most local companies have failed to keep up with high inflation standing at 765.67%.
Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Union president Peter Mutasa said that figure is actually an understatement and showed that the bulk of the workforce was now classified as working poor. “Workers are earning less than 25% of the consumer basket as most workers cannot secure basic goods for the family,” Mutasa said.