The Jesuit Centre for Theological Reflection (JCTR) has attributed the high cost of living to fuel pump price fluctuations and exchange rate variations.
The cost of living for a family of five, for the month of July 2023 in Lusaka, stood at K9, 301.18 in comparison to the recorded figure of K9, 239.45 in June 2023, signifying an increase of K61.73.
The average cost of living across all towns monitored stood at K6, 752.91, reflecting an increase of K236.64 in comparison to June 2023.
In a statement, JCTR said the increasing cost of living is a global crisis that has not spared Zambia.
“The high cost of living, undeniably a global crisis, has continued to be driven by factors such as seasonality, fuel pump price fluctuations and exchange rate variations. These movements have continued to cause a steady increase in the price of both food and non-food items. This scenario makes it difficult for households to attain fundamental basic necessities, as incomes and livelihoods rarely adapt in sync with fluctuations in prices,” JCTR stated.
“The staple food, mealie meal, which has seen sustained higher prices than usual this year, is one commodity worth highlighting. For a family of five as estimated by JCTR, two 25kg bags of “roller” mealie meal is required per month for consumption. The July BNNB data revealed a worrying trend, with the cost of two bags of roller mealie meal exceeding the K360 mark, thereby eroding the purchasing power of households and making it increasingly challenging for households to manage their daily expenses,” the statement added.
JCTR said the government must quickly put in place strategies to reduce the cost of farming inputs aimed at bolstering maize production and other key cereals, in order to incentivize local farmers and to enhance domestic supply.