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Zimbabweans sink deeper into poverty

by Staff reporter
30 Jan 2024 at 07:47hrs | Views
Zimbabweans are having to digging deeper into their pockets to buy basic commodities as the cost of living continues to rise with the food poverty line reaching  ZWL$155 360,39 for a single person, latest data shows.

The Zimdollar has lost more than a third of its value in January this year with the parallel market rate standing at US$1:ZWL$15 000.

According to the Zimbabwe National Statistics Agency (ZimStat) latest data on monthly prices statistics released yesterday, the minimum amount required for a single person to buy enough food to meet their basic needs rose to ZWL$155 360,39 in January, a significant jump from ZWL$106 696,52 in December last year.

"The food poverty line for one person in January 2024 was ZWL$155 360,39. The total consumption poverty line for one person in January 2024 was ZWL$198 981,37.ZimStat said the month-on-month inflation rate for January 2024 was 6,6%, gaining 1,9 percentage points on December 2023 rate of 4,7%.

The statistics agency said the rise was largely driven by the increasing cost of food and non-alcoholic beverages, which contributed 4,9% to the overall inflation rate.Housing, water, electricity and gas also played a significant role, adding 1,6% to the inflationary pressure.

The year-on-year inflation rate for the month of January 2024, as measured by all items Consumer Price Index quickened to 34,8% in January from 26,5% in December.Food prices have been volatile in recent months, with staples like bread, cooking oil, and sugar becoming increasingly expensive. The local currency has depreciated against major currencies further worsening the situation.

World Bank country manager for Zimbabwe Eneida Fernandes recently called on authorities to continue tackling the macro-economic challenges to sustain the country's economic growth.

"Addressing price and exchange rate volatility and public debt arrears will support economic growth and job creation. This will help the country to address the poverty, vulnerability and food insecurity rates, which remain high," she said

Economists have also warned that this year could be more difficulty than 2023 due to tax increases in the 2024 national budget.

They said the taxes were likely to further squeeze businesses and consumers, raising the cost of living and cost of doing business, while potentially fuelling inflation.

The local currency has experienced a sharp depreciation against the dollar, quickening the redollarisation on the economy.Statistics show that over 80% of transactions are in United States dollar.

Source - newsday