THE cost of living in Zimbabwe skyrocketed by $324 to $7 171 by end of April last month due to an increase in fuel prices, limited supply of basic products as well as panic-buying by consumers because of the lockdown, a new report has revealed.
BY MTHANDAZO NYONI
At the end of March, the figure stood at $6 846,80.
A survey conducted by the Consumer Council of Zimbabwe (CCZ) showed that the cost of living for a family of six shot up by 4,74% to $7 171 in April.
The food basket increased by 4,61% to $4 116,55, while the price of detergents increased by 58,35% to $388,17.
Almost all basic commodities in the period under review registered an increase. These include margarine, sugar, tea leaves, fresh milk, flour, rice, onions, cabbage, salt, meat, bath soap, laundry bar and washing powder.
Decreases were only recorded in mealie-meal, cooking oil, bread and tomatoes.
The increase in the cost of living came as a shocker for many citizens whose monthly incomes hardly go beyond $3 000.
To make matters worse, a number of them have been given half salaries due to the COVID-19-induced lockdown.
“As CCZ, we assume that the increase in the total figure of the basket can be attributed to the influence of the parallel market on exchange rates, increase in fuel prices, limited supply of some basic products and panic buying by consumers because of the lockdown,” part of the report reads.
“There has been a decline in productivity by firms in the market due to the negative impacts of the coronavirus, but consumers have increased their demand of certain products in fear of future shortages,” it said.
CCZ said mandatory restrictions like the lockdown required citizens to stay at home in order avoid spreading the coronavirus, but on the other hand, these measures had triggered panic-buying, leading to an increase in the price of most basic products.
The consumer lobby group urged consumers to always seek a fair deal on the marketplace by ensuring that their rights are observed, as well as reporting any anomalies on the marketplace.
The consumer lobby group conducts a survey during the first and the last week of every month.
The price of each commodity was arrived at by averaging prices gathered from retail outlets throughout the country.