No hope: cost of living shoots up again -JCTR

The Jesuit Centre for Theological Reflection (JCTR) Basic Needs Basket has revealed that the cost of living for the month of March 2014 for an average family of five living in Lusaka increased by K71.44 Ngwee from K3,616.28 in February to K3,687.72.

The JCTR has attributed the increase mainly due to the rise in the cost of Mealie meal which increased from K68.00 to over K82.00 per 25kg bag of breakfast in some parts of the country.

The JCTR has since expressed concern with the rising cost of living due to its adverse effects on majority of the citizens as evidenced by the failure of some families to meet the cost of a 25Kg bag of maize meal.

It reveals that Survey findings from peri-urban markets show that there is a sharp increase in demand for small unit repackaged mealie meal popularly known as ‘Pamela’, an indication of the systemic increase in the number of families living from hand-to-mouth in peri-urban areas.

The JCTR states that the high cost of mealie meal is very saddening and alarming especially for a country whose staple food is maize.

It notes that the price of mealie meal remains high despite the various interventions by the government.

The JCTR has appealed to government to intervene, both in the medium and long term, in the rising cost of mealie meal bearing in mind that Maize pricing is overtly over-sensitive to market forces and weather patterns.

The JCTR further urges the government to ensure that the price of mealie meal does not increase any further as it will adversely affect and exacerbate the already eroded coping capabilities of the majority of Zambians who depend on this staple food and often have very limited escape opportunities from the poverty trap.

It also urges the government to ensure a stable macro-economic environment buttressed on consistent and sound economic policies rather than political imperatives.

The JCTR adds that the depreciation of the Kwacha must be squarely addressed noting that millers are transferring the cost to the consumers.


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