THE consumer basket for a family of six was stable in the first four months of the year but moved northwards after a review in medical fees in May, the Consumer Council of Zimbabwe (CCZ) has said.
Between January and April, the total consumer basket for a family of six has been ranging between $559 and $561.
“During May and June the medical fees went up and the basket stood at $592,97 and $588,95 respectively. The medical fees increased the total basket in May and June. The total basket would have continued to be stable during the first half of the year,” CCZ executive director Rosemary Siyachitema said yesterday.
In May this year, government set consultation fees for hospitals or nursing homes to $35 from $20, while antenatal care went up to $35 for the initial visit and $30 for post-natal visits.
Siyachitema said the consumer watch dog had realised that there had been a lot of referrals of people from public to private hospitals yet few people were on medical aid, which meant people would have to pay more.
Government is currently developing a framework to regulate medical fees that are being charged by health practitioners following reports that some medical doctors were charging way above the gazetted fees.
During the six months under review, the food basket started at $150,33 in January and it reached its peak in March of $152,82.
It started to decline in April reaching $151,35, dropped further to $148,74 in May before reaching $144,57 in June.
“Due to deflation most people are keeping money in their pockets and are buying necessities mostly and do not want to be extravagance in their spending,” Siyachitema said.
She said in the second half of the year, the consumer basket was expected to increase slightly due to transport costs and increases in the prices of mealie meal.
Siyachitema said transporters might increase transport fares due to the increase in toll gate fees, while the price of mealie meal might increase in the second half of the year.