Friday, April 19, 2024

It’s yet to be seen if the Government’s efforts to reduce the cost of living will work-JCTR

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The Jesuit Centre for Theological Reflection (JCTR) has said that it is yet to be seen if the Government’s efforts to reduce the cost of living will work amid the increase in fuel pump prices.

JCTR Executive Director Fr. Alex Muyebe, S.J. said in a statement that the cost of living in Zambia was rising in contrast to the recent trend in national inflation which has been on the decline.

Fr. Muyebe said JCTR is aware that the Government is citing delivery of Constituency Development Fund, rolling-out of social cash transfer programme, implementation of free education programme, payment of salary arrears for local government employees, recruitment of health and teachers as efforts to cushion Zambian households from the rising cost of living.

He said the JCTR’s Basic Needs and Nutrition Basket (BNNB) survey recently for Lusaka stood at K9, 049.25 for the month of January 2022, showing a K689.45 increase in comparison to December, 2021.

“Since January 2022 the cost of living in Zambia has been on the upward trend corresponding to the rise in commodity prices. This scenario is not surprising given that the rise in fuel pump prices generally does have a spiral effect on the commodity prices in Zambia. The fuel pump price adjustment by almost K10 between December 2021 and April 2022 and the resultant adjustment in the commodity prices is inevitably going to hit hard on the majority of the Zambian people whose incomes are already very low. According to a study report by Karl Pauw, Bernard Tembo and James Thurlow on “COVID-19 in Zambia: Impacts on Production, Poverty & Food Systems” published on 6th April 2021, poverty rate in Zambia increased by 4.3 percent due to the COVID-19 pandemic,” Fr. Muyebe stated.

“The rising cost of living is just setting on course, and it looks likely that it is going to push more households into absolute poverty. In the midst of this, the Government has urged citizens to be extra resilient because it is aggressively working towards stabilizing and ultimately lowering fuel pump prices and improving the general economic welfare of Zambians.”

Fr. Muyebe added:”It is yet to be seen if what Government is pointing to as its key commitments such as delivery on Constituency Development Fund, rolling-out of social cash transfer programme, implementation of free education programme, payment of salary arrears for local government employees, recruitment of health and education workers will be enough to cushion Zambian households from the pangs of the rising cost of living when the fuel pump prices still remain very high in the short term. What does the Government say to a poor household in Chibolya compound which is not a beneficiary of any of the above listed programmes and yet it now has to pay more for food and other basic necessities?”

Fr. Muyebe observed that Zambia’s recent inflation rate is not corresponding with the cost of living.

“This signified an 8.24percent increase in the cost of living between December 2021 and January 2022. The BNNB for Lusaka has continued to rise since January 2022. This is in contrast to the recent trend in national inflation which has been on the decline. According to the Zambia Statistics Agency Zambia’s inflation rate for March has declined to 13.1 percent from 14.2 percent recorded in February driven by the base effect, which compares inflation in the corresponding period of the previous year,” he said.

Fr. Muyebe emphasised:”The point that needs to be highlighted is that although these two indicators are intimately related, they are not synonymous. The explanation lies in the definition of inflation; “inflation measures the rate of increase of general prices level”. The opposite is deflation, “the general decline in prices for goods and services”. Therefore, a decline in inflation rate does not mean that prices have necessarily reduced.”

“All it means is that the rate at which these prices are rising over the comparable period has reduced. We can only talk about reduction in prices if the inflation rate falls below zero (in this case it becomes deflation). Inflation presents the big picture. As the cost of goods and services rises, the buying power of the Kwacha falls. The inflation rate is often measured by the change in the Consumer Price Index (CPI), a monthly measure by the Zambia Statistics Agency that averages the cost of a basket of goods and services from areas around the country. It reports the result as a percentage rise or drop in CPI,” Fr. Muyebe said.

16 COMMENTS

  1. Instead of telling us how they’ll reduce the cost of living, the UPND are now talking about how their leader hasn’t received his salary in the past 8 months. This is a gimmick that was played by Kamuzu Banda in 1964 to deceive Malawians that he cared yet his salary is just a very small component of what the State spends to sustain the 1st Family. The UPND have indeed run out of ideas. If you can’t govern it’s to call on able Zambians to help you through to 2026 when you’ll surrender.

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  2. Rev Father how can you honestly talk about price reduction when the prices are going up faster than a rocket to Mars?

  3. Seven months in power and the UPND government has only presided over PRICES RISING. Mealie meal, cooking oil, flour, sugar, meat, chicken – absolutely EVERYTHING has risen in price. Not what you promised Mr President!

  4. Not to mention fuel prices, electricity tariffs, transport and – not to be forgotten – police BRIBES! All have gone UP!

  5. When you tell someone that you bought your cooking oil ate K310.00, he tells you that he bought his ate K210.00. You ask him from which shop and instead of telling you the shop he starts accusing you of being a PF supporter. Please mwebantu what has this got to do with PF or any party whatsoever. This a true story.

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  6. I bought a dog last week which has turned out to be problematic. Steals food and very crooked. I have named it HH

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  7. Rev Father take time to see if there is a relationship between mine tax holidays and Prices raising. What has changed is the mode of stealing. This time, it is devastating.

  8. I think JCTR reports and the good reports from the statistical agency must be supported as they have an input in Bank of Zambia policy rate So how well the measurements of Inflation is important So as a critical component in that process you need to Invest in broad based measures of Inflation rebalancing expenditures and weights also Naturally in the short-term to long-term What we are calculating and building non is the elementary CPI Inflation measures but we need to build on those and stem to put Inflation focast and projections pointers long-term moreso measuring issues of productivity unemployment and incomes are key so that we clear many questions form people but these dissemination even on the talking on diamond by JCTR are good for analytics

  9. It should relate to personal consumption expenditures changes in the basket thought it’s an issue of discussion

  10. Well like I have said and reading the statement from JCTR it’s normal for a modest tightening or similar near the 9% going forward in line with this statement here but growth and Inflation will be and is showing some upward signs The general wage growth in the sectors is generally subdued so the quarterly forecast like that

  11. But like I have said basing that on this alone could be not be enough that is why when you read the MPC the gov tries to give more but this Inflation measures should be accurately so so are the measure s on GDP and unemployment

    Okay

  12. Father chite iwe, Gone! are the days when the Zambian economy was successfully measured and determined by the Jesuit parish or Fathers. For simple reasons, during those days, the entire country & economy was run by charitable organizations as they were the largest contributors to Social Services and Education,to some extent,even the highest paid jobs were with these charity organizations (imagine how low we had sunk,an NGO CEO getting paid more than a Konkola Mines CEO?) hahahhaha. So imwe ba Jesuit whoever, Zambia now can pay its own retirees and on time, it can pay social cash transfers from its own budget,it can support its own SMEs through CDF. I suggest now you try another country maybe Ukraine.

  13. We now have an Economist President who himself can measure his own Economy better. Cos he is the one building it .Which means he understands it better than anyone else thats just talking. And by the way, thankyou!

  14. It`s good that the economy doesn`t fall for lies. It doesn`t differentiate between the 2.8 and 1.8 million. It hits everyone hard. Bally can`t sweet talk this ramshackle of an economy.

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