JCTR Acting social conditions programme Manager Sosten Banda said in a statement that the cost of living for an average family of five in Lusaka stood K3,395,660, an increase of K485,840 from K2,909,820 in May 2012.
Mr Banda said the upward adjustment was influenced mainly by increase in the cost of essential non-food items like accommodation and electricity.
He said that as the cost of living increase, it only makes sense that wages and salaries in both the private and public sectors correspondingly increase, failure to which poverty will perpetuate as majority of Zambians’ will be unable to meet the cost of basic food and essential non-food items, especially in the long-run.
He added that despite the observed reduction in some basic needs, the cost of living is still high and unaffordable to many households especially that the cost of housing and electricity keeps rising significantly.
Mr Banda said serious and sustained policy steps starting with the New Minimum Wage yet to be announced should be encouraged as they will ensure that a typical worker in Zambia gets a wage will that enables them to at least meet the cost of food items.
He called on Government to come up with a minimum wage that is fair to both the employer and employee and private parties, while calling on other stakeholders on the other hand to ensure that the new minimum wage once announced is timely effected.
Mr Banda explains that a fair minimum wage and quick implementation will further reduce the industrial unrest that has characterized the county in recent times.
He said that policies, strategies and initiatives that ensure sustained employment creation, especially for the youths that account for 80% of Zambia’s total population will help remedy the high income poverty that such groups are currently experiencing.