The cost of living for a family of five in Lusaka has declined by K29, from K5, 424 in December 2018 to K5, 395 in January 2019, the Jesuit Centre for Theological Reflection (JCTR) has revealed.
According to the JCTR latest Basic Needs Basket, the K29 decline will have little impact on the lives of people because the cost of Basic Needs Basket for January remained high.
The JCTR disclosed in their report that the country has continued to experience high unemployment and poverty levels of 41.2 percent and 54 percent respectively, coupled with inequality, corruption and other socio-economic challenges.
According to the report, Basic Needs Basket also shows that the most significant changes were noted in the sale of tea bags which decreased by K12, from K85 to K73 while charcoal reduced by K5 from K138 to K133 per K50 kg bag.
The report indicates that the prices for commodities such as vegetables dropped due to seasonal factors, adding that the price for fish and Kapenta increased by K28 from K103 to K131 per kilogram and Kapenta increased by K14 from K198 to K202.
The basic needs baskets also shows that housing in Lusaka’s high density areas remained high at K3,000 per month for a 3 bedroomed house, ZESCO bills amounted to K292 for 402 kilowatts per hour, and water bills were calculated at K192 per month.
The BNBV illustrates that living in Lusaka remains expensive and challenging for average Zambians noting that living in Lusaka limits opportunities for development and slows the growth of human dignity.
The report observes that if the status quo is maintained, the country will continue to languish in high poverty levels which might be difficult to recover from adding that the impact would be felt by Zambians surviving on the social and economic margins.
The JCTR has urged that job creation should be initiated by both the public and private sectors to address the high unemployment and promote wage for people to help meet the high cost of living across the country.
This is in recognition that government must act on the common good and demonstrate a preferential option of the poor.
The JCTR has further urged government to fully embrace and expand the e-voucher programme in order to promote agriculture diversification from maize growing to livestock and fish farming.
The JCTR has also stressed that urban farming should also be encourage so that households are able to exercise increased self-sufficiency and supplement some basic needs.