Chiefs urge ED to urgently address rising cost of living

CHIEFS in the Midlands and Matabeleland regions have called on President Emmerson Mnangagwa to urgently address the rising cost of living, including sharp increases in food insecurity.

BY BUSINESS REPORTER

Mnangagwa met chiefs from the region at the Bulawayo State House on Friday.

“Your Excellency, the ever rising prices of basic commodities is causing serious pain in our communities and needs urgent attention. In fact, the cost of living is now totally unbearable, as the cost of all goods and services has skyrocketed beyond the means of our rural and urban communities. The RTGS$ is increasingly becoming useless, creating uncertainty among both investors and consumers,” the chiefs said.

“What makes the situation worse is that the rising cost of living comes at a time when levels of unemployment and lack of income are very high. This means very few people can afford even the most minimum standard of living. The stability of the country going forward will depend very much on government’s ability to deal with people’s lack of confidence in the RTGS$ and the skyrocketing prices of goods and services.”

The chiefs also said the dignity of work had also been seriously undermined.

“Most workers across industry are being paid insulting salaries that do not meet the basic needs of households. We call upon government to intervene in the best interests of the thousands of workers,” read part of the document presented to the President.

Despite reintroducing the Zimbabwe dollar as the sole legal tender in the country last week, prices of basic commodities continue to be pegged against the forex parallel market.

According to the Consumer Council of Zimbabwe, monthly consumer basket has now breached the ZWL$1 000 mark, at a time when salaries range between ZWL$500 and ZWL$1 000 per month.

Worsening matters is the drought which has greatly disrupted agricultural activity in the Midlands region.

“The drought has seen a sharp increase of food insecure households. Many children are going to school on empty stomachs. Child-hunger and malnutrition are on the rise. Access to clean water and safe sanitation is on the decline. As a result, a lot of households need assistance to improve food and nutritional security and access to clean and irrigation water. We, therefore, call upon your government, Your Excellency, to quickly move in with the necessary interventions,” added part of the compilation document.

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