The cost of living as measured by the Jesuit Centre for Theological Reflections (JCTR) Basic Needs and Nutrition Basket for the month of January 2020 has been recorded at K7, 410.96 for a family of five compared to K 5,395.35 in January 2019.
Speaking in an in with Money FM News, JCTR Executive Director Innocent Ndasha said 2020 January Needs and Nutrition Basket increased by 11.9 percent from K6, 620.23 in December 2019 to K7, 410.96 in January 2020.
Mr Ndasha said the rise in the basket between December and January is mainly due to increases in the price of essential food items such as Kapenta, which moved from K205.83 to K299.07 per kg, fruits which moved from K107.31 to K439.93, onion and tomato which increased from K48.53 to K150.88 and K57.36 to K118.58 respectively.
He explained that from the non-food essential items, notable increases where charcoal that increased from K296 to K360 (for two 90kg bags) and electricity that moved from K292 to K500.
“JCTR is greatly concerned with the sustained significant increases in the cost of living. Increases in electricity and fuel rates effected on 1st January 2020 and 27th December 2019 respectively have evidently led to increased production and transportation costs and consequently increased prices for some goods’’ Mr Ndasha said.
He noted that a high cost of living threatens the wellbeing of household’s right to good health and life as their basic requirements are unattainable given the prevailing economic situation.
“Subsequently this rise will continue to further decrease, the social and economic well-being of the citizenry especially the poor and vulnerable additionally, households may compromise nutrition by trading-off the consumption of some essential food items such as fruits that have recorded large increases in price” He said.
He said in view of the socio-economic challenges being faced by the country, JCTR continues to call upon Government to effect economic growth and pro-poor policies.
“There is need for government to embark on robust efforts with regards to agriculture and ensuring food security in the face of droughts and floods experienced in the last few years”. He said.
Mr Ndasha noted the need for government to invest in horticulture, irrigation systems and alternative farming methods to ensure locals productively grow and produce diverse foods for both consumption and commercial purposes thereby creating employment and reducing food imports.