Zim’s cost of living surges 10,5%

Shakeman Mugari

COMMODITIES in Zimbabwe’s basket of basic needs have gone up by an average 21% pushing the cost of living by about 10,5%, a local consumer watchdog has said. <
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The increase has some semblance to the January’s inflation figure of 10,2%. The increase in the price of basic commodities means that an average family of six now needs about $1 969 090 up from last January’s $1 774 686 to get through the month.


The Consumer Council of Zimbabwe (CCZ) attributed the increase in the cost of living to the recent hikes in the prices of basic commodities.


“The monthly expenditure for the CCZ family of six for the month of February 2005 has risen to $1 969 090 from the January 2005 figure of $1 774 686,” said CCZ in its February consumer report.


A family of six, according to the survey, is made up of two parents and four children.


The consumer protection organisation said this indicated an increase of between 10,95 or 11%.


It said the increase in the overall budget was largely a result of increases in both food and non-food items.


“Major movers in the basket were flour, which went up by 30%, rice by 38%, salt 22%, washing soap by 25%, while rent also rose by 25%,” CCZ said.


Marginal increases were also recorded on items like margarine, clothing and footwear, fresh milk, cooking oil and bath soap among other items. The new figures from the CCZ are likely to strengthen the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU)’s bargaining platform ahead of salary negotiations due anytime soon. The ZCTU has said it would be demanding a minimum $2 million pay cheque for each worker regardless of the sector.


The demands are, however, likely to be met with fierce resistance from the employers who say their margins are already under pressure. There is likely to be a standoff between the union and employers.


Meanwhile, the Tripartite Negotiating Forum is a still in limbo.

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