Cost of living continue to rise

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Lusaka

The Jesuit Centre for Theological Reflection (JCTR) has demanded that Government steps up efforts in diversifying the economy by addressing bottlenecks such as late delivery of farming inputs, high cost of financial credit and reduced investor confidence that are hindering economic diversification efforts.
And the JCTR has revealed that the cost of living has continued to rise, with the Basic Needs Basket (BNB) for a family of five living in Lusaka standing at K4,924.54 for the month of November, which was K40.97 more than the October BNB which stood at K4,883.57.
In a statement today, the JCTR noted that the current farming input distribution fiasco is hampering the economic diversification plans of the 2018 budget.
“Economic diversification remains key to addressing the high levels of poverty and inequality in Zambia, adding that over dependence on the mining sector has not entirely helped in reducing poverty because the capacity of this sector to reduce poverty is limited,” the JCTR stated.
“Economic growth generated from a cross section of sectors is more likely to evenly distribute incomes among the population and reduce poverty and inequality than growth generated by one sector would do. The current challenges Government is facing in timely distribution of farming inputs is indicative that our diversification efforts into agriculture are not working well.”
On the increase in the cost of living, the JCTR said: “The November 2017 JCTR Basic Needs Basket (BNB) for a family of five living in Lusaka stood at K4,924.54 which was K40.97 more than the October BNB which stood at K 4,883.57. The increase in the BNB was attributed to increased costs in some food items which included; Mealie meal, Fish, tomatoes and Kapenta increased by K3.29, K6.63, K1 and K54 respectively. Other commodities like beans, onion, tea and charcoal decreased by K2, K3, K18 and K16 respectively. The prices for fish and Kapenta increased generally because of low catches, due to the behaviour of fish during rainy season. It is expected that the prices will continue to be high during the next three months because of the fish ban that is effected on 1st December for a 3 month period. On the other hand onion and charcoal prices decreased because supply in the market was high which prompted the traders to reduce prices.”
Meanwhile, the JCTR has observed that the current unemployment rates are too high to guarantee improved social and economic well-being of Zambians as they are not able to earn enough income to provide basic needs for their families.
“According to the labour force survey report for 2014 the overall unemployment rate was at 7.4%, urban areas had a higher unemployment rate at 11.5% relative to 4.2% in rural areas. Such high unemployment rates cannot guarantee improved social and economic well-being of the people as they are not able to earn enough income to provide basic needs for their families which is leading to increased poverty levels and inequality. There is need for a more diversified economy that will generate more decent jobs and especially in labour intensive sectors if the gap between cost of living and income is to be bridged,” the JCTR stated.

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