Cost of living increases

Source: Cost of living increases – Sunday News  June 12, 2016

Noble Ncube, Business Reporter
THE cost of living for low income urban earners increased by $3,66 to $567,48 in May from $563,82 in April, a move caused by some retailers who have raised prices of basic commodities in anticipation of panic buying, the Consumer Council of Zimbabwe has said.

There have been reports that people might do panic buying following the announcement that the country will introduce bond notes and some businesses claim the move will result in some retailers running out of stock. The increase was for the second consecutive month this year. In March the cost of living was pegged at $561,06.

Since the January figure of $557,58 the cost of living has jumped by $9,90 in four months.

“As CCZ we assume that price increases were necessitated by the panic of the incoming bond notes, and the rampant cash shortages have left consumers resorting to plastic money and most supermarkets have taken advantage of the current situation.

“The food basket increased by $2,95 or 2,45 percent from $121,10 by end April to $124,05 by end May. The price of detergents increased by $1,04 or 12,5 percent from $8,39 to $9,43,” said CCZ.

Last year in the comparable period, prices were decreasing although they were marginally higher than this year. Last year in May the food basket decreased to $129,24 from $133,05 in the month of April. CCZ Matabeleland regional manager Mr Comfort Muchekeza said the increase in prices was triggered by uncertainty which was created following the announcement that the country will introduce bond notes.

“There are a lot of factors that have caused the slight increase of cost of living. Chief among them is speculation over the issue of introduction of bond notes. As consumers panicked in fear of what transpired during the bearers cheques era, supermarkets took a chance and increased prices of commodities. We acknowledge operating costs that supermarkets are facing but they cannot put the burden on consumers.

“Although all these increases are still within the initial starting price, there is a need for the public to be well informed about bond notes prior to introducing them. The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe and the Government need to do a public education campaign and explain that the bond note is not the same as the bearer cheque,” said Mr Muchekeza.

CCZ reported that increase in prices was recorded in margarine by 10 cents from 75 cents to 85 cents, sugar by six cents from $1,79 to $1,85, tea leaves by six cents from $1,69 to $1,75, milk by a cent from 49 cents to 50 cents, flour by 14 cents from $1,59 to $1,73, rice by 24 cents from $1,41 to $1,65, cooking oil by 11 cents from $1,27 to $1,38, bread 10 cents from 65 cents to 75 cents, salt by three cents from 18 cents to 22 cents, onion by 19 cents from $1,65 to $1,84, bath soap by 26 cents from 49 cents to 75 cents and cabbage by 15 cents from 60 cents to 75 cents.

Decrease in prices was recorded in roller meal by 40 cents from $10,80 to $10,40, per 20 kilogramme, tomatoes by seven cents from 87 cents to 80 cents, washing powder by 11 cents from $1,20 to $1,09 and meat by 30 cents from $3,80 to $3,50.

The price of laundry bar remained unchanged from the end of April figure of 79 cents.