High mealie meal prices have increased Zambia’s annual inflation rate to 9.3 percent in August from 8.8 percent last month. The annual rate of inflation has been rising for the past five months with March figures recorded at 7.5 percent rising to August’s rate of 9.3 percent.
Central Statistical Office -CSO- Assistant Director Social Statistics Iven Sikanyiti says increased prices of cereals like breakfast meal, roller meal, maize grain and local rice have contributed to the rise in the inflation rate.
He said food inflation rate for August rose to 10.3 percent compared to 9.3 percent recorded last month owing to the above factors.
Speaking during the monthly briefing in Lusaka today, Mr. Sikanyiti also revealed that the annual inflation rates increased for all provinces except for North Western Province which remained unchanged.
Western province topped the list of provincial inflation rates at 10. 5 percent followed by Eastern at 9.9 percent and Lusaka and Southern provinces at 9.6 percent.
The inflation rate for alcohol beverages and tobacco increased to 6.8 percent in August 2019 from 6.7 percent recorded in July 2019 due to price changes in tobacco products.
Inflation for clothing and footwear also marginally increased to 6.5 percent in August from 6.4 recorded last month while for health it increased to 7.4 percent in August from 7.1 percent July 2019.
There was also an upward adjustment of inflation in the Transport, Communication, Education and miscellaneous goods and services sector in August from July 2019.
Meanwhile, Zambia last month recorded a 27 percent increase in trade deficit from K619 million in June to K786.2 million.
Mr. Sikanyiti however noted that despite a decline in both imports and exports, the decline in exports outweighed that of imports.
And, Interim Statistician General Mulenga Musepa said the country needs to do more in its diversification agenda.
Mr. Musepa said Zambia still heavily relies on Copper exports.
He said there is need to expand the diversification agenda by not just increasing the number of products but also increasing export destinations which is key in attaining what is outlined in the Seventh National Development Plan.
Mr. Musepa however noted that the current infrastructure development in the country are opening up sectors such agriculture and tourism.