• The rise in the basket is due to increased prices in food items such as 2 bags of 25kg roller Mealie Meal.
• The basket also noted a significant increase in the non-food items.
• Load shedding will have a negative impact on the most vulnerable people in the country.
Jesuit Centre for Theological Reflection (JCTR) has disclosed that the cost of living for a family of five in Lusaka increased by K 415.62 in December 2022, from the K8567.2 recorded in November, 2022 to K8, 982.82.
Centre Social & Economic Development Programme Manager Muchimba Siamachoka attributed the rise in the basket to increased prices in food items such as 4kg onion, 2kg chicken and 2 bags of 25kg roller Mealie Meal.
Ms. Siamachoka explained in a statement that the basket also noted a significant increase in the non-food items section specifically with 2 bags of 90kg of charcoal which went up by K330 from K375 per 90kg bag to K540 per bag.
“The basket, however, recorded notable decreases in food items such as 3kg beans which went down by K51.28 from K159.09 (K53.03/kg) to K107.81 (K35.94/kg), and tomato which went down by K36.13. Further, 14kg of other fruits also went down by K19.22 from K133.62 (9.54/ kg) to K114.40 (8.17/kg),” Ms. Siamachoka stated.
Meanwhile, Ms. Siamachoka observed that load shedding will have a negative impact on the most vulnerable people in the country, especially in view of the high cost of living.
“As already observed, according to the JCTR BNNB data, the price of charcoal in December went up by K330 from K750 (K375.00/90kg bag) to K1080 (K540.00/90kg). Generally, the price of charcoal goes up during the wet season when the product becomes scarce due to the fact that wood takes longer to dry than it does during the dry.”
“With few or no viable alternatives to charcoal, the commencement of load shedding will inevitably increase demand and affect commodity prices. On the other hand, the need to protect the environment and find alternatives remains critical in the fight against the climate crisis. The JCTR is concerned about the economic impact load shedding may have by reducing productivity. This has the potential to reverse the gains made by government over the last year,” she stated.
She called on government to act quickly in addressing the energy crisis in order to avoid the economy from slowing down and safeguard the most vulnerable households in the country.