By Dr. Chishimba Kambwili
FOOD HAS BECOME UNAFFORDABLE IN ZAMBIA DUE TO INFLATION CAUSED BY BAD GOVERNMENT POLICY
Good afternoon fellow Zambians,
A few days ago, I conducted a tour of Shoprite at Lewanika Mall to look at prevailing prices of essential household goods.
I have to say that I’m shocked at the prices of basic goods.
A tray of eggs is now selling for K47, just four months ago a tray of eggs was K28.
A small 750 Ml bottle of cooking oil is now selling for K29 when it was only K12 last year.
A KG of fish is now selling for K37, three months ago the price was K28 per kilo.
A 1 litre of milk is now K18, four months ago it was K10.
Mealie meal is still expensive, upwards of K115 for 25 KG.
Bread is now K14, when it was only K8 five months ago.
A fully grown chicken is selling for over K60, up from K40 just six months ago.
Based on my survey, I have concluded that the cost of essential household commodities has increased by over 40% between January 2020 and July 2020, this is just over a six month period.
This increase in the cost of essential household goods comes just off the back of a 200% increment in electricity units and a 60% increase in the cost of fuel in December 2019.
The vast majority of households in Zambia can’t afford these prices, more especially in the rural areas where the hunger situation is still unresolved.
It’s worth noting that the PF government only awarded civil servants a 4% salary increment, of which 1% is deducted as payment to NHIMA.
So in real terms, civil servants only got a 3% salary increment.
Of what value is a 3% increment when the cost of food has gone up 40%?
The hyperinflation we’re witnessing in Zambia today is being fueled by ;
1: Loadshedding because local manufacturing companies and retailers are having to use generators to manufacture and sell their products. They are using expensive fuel to manage production.
2: The high cost of electricity after the 200% price increase is now being factored into the production cost of essential household goods.
3: The high cost of fuel has increased production and distribution costs for manufacturers, which is now being factored into pricing.
4: The cost of agricultural inputs has dramatically increased because of a weak kwacha on imported inputs, and middlemen in the procurement process of agricultural inputs.
As NDC we have sound agricultural policies enshrined in our manifesto that will ensure that the cost of essential household goods and food are kept low so that the masses of Zambians can afford to have a decent standard of living.
We will lower the taxes on fuel, we will cut out middlemen in the procurement of fuel and agricultural inputs, we will embark on development of several solar, thermal and wind power plants to end load shedding once and for all, we will provide more subsidies on agricultural inputs and we will ensure that there’s a substantial increase in agricultural output that will lower the prices of agricultural products.