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Woe to poverty-stricken Zimbabweans

31 Oct 2023 at 05:48hrs | Views
IT never rains, but pours for the majority of Zimbabweans who are barely making ends meet as the cost of living continues to spiral out of reach.

The Zimbabwe National Statistics Agency (ZimStat) tells us that this month, the food poverty line (FPL) for one person — which is defined as the cost of the minimum nutritional requirement of 2 100 kilocalories per person per day, without any allowance for non-food basic necessities — amounted to ZWL$80 512.

The total consumption poverty line — which is the non-food consumption expenditure for poor households and is just equal to FPL — rose from ZWL$95 462,53 in September to ZWL$105 072 in October for an individual.

Price increases of both food and non-food items have since pushed inflation from 1% to 2,5%, and ZimStat says the inflation is mainly being driven by "housing, electricity and water, followed by food and non-alcoholic beverages".

"For the month of October 2023, the CPI [consumer price index] for housing, water, electricity, gas and other fuels had the highest contribution of 1,4%, followed by food and non-alcoholic beverages with a contribution of 0,8%," ZimStat has revealed.

The gods must surely be crazy that this nation keeps on going in circles like a mad dog chasing its very own short tail.

Only a few months ago there were celebrations all round that inflation had been tamed from three digits to below 0% , yet we are starting to slowly climb again the same ladder we have scaled up and down for more than a decade.

There surely must be something wrong with our economics because we cannot keep on going in circles like this and the most affected by this yo-yoing are the majority poor people.

And as sure as the sun will rise tomorrow and the day after, our inflation will soon start galloping again given what the 2023/24 summer cropping season is not promising due to the predicted average to below normal rains.

If our agricultural sector — which happens to be a key cog of our economy — coughs, prices are definitely going to shoot through the roof, driving inflation into space and sucking the life out of our local currency, which is already in the intensive care.

It will take nothing short of a miracle for the country to escape the calamity ahead; and may God, the gods and ancestors help the poverty-stricken people of Zimbabwe who will bear the brunt of the beckoning trials and tribulations.

Call us unrepentant prophets of doom, but we have experienced it before and the worst was 15 years ago when our inflation set a new world record this millennia of 79,6 billion percent in November 2008 after the stop button of the country's money printing machines jammed.

As things stand the money printer seems to be throttled, but we just hope that the local currency dies a natural death given that the multi-currency regime has been extended to 2030 from 2025.

While this will definitely keep the money printer in check, it is, however, worrying that even in United States dollar terms, prices are creeping up, making our agony unique in that even when using money which does belong to us, inflation keeps haunting us.

Source - newsday
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