By Scoop Reporter

THE cost of living has continued rising in Zambia with the Jesuit Centre for Theological Reflection (JCTR) noting an increase in the Basic Needs and Nutrition Basket (BNNB) for the month of April.

In the BNNB press statement today, JCTR Programme Manager for Social and Economic Development Chama Bowa, says the BNNB, which is a measure of the monthly cost of living for a family of 5 and conducted in 16 towns for the month of April 2020 stood at K7, 158.67 for Lusaka.

Ms. Bowa says the April 2020 basket increased by approximately 2 percent or by K144.54 moving from K7, 014.90 in March 2020.

She says the noted increase in the basket can be attributed to increases in food items such as, other fruits which increased by K66.33 from K364.83 to K426.16, kapenta which increased by K57.07from K163.93 to K221.00 and onion which increased by K21.16 from K58.98 to K80.14.

She says other items such as chicken, vegetables, soya pieces and beans price increases were between K10 and K16. Some items from the non-food essential items also recorded price increases.

She says charcoal price increased by K14.10 from K344.00 to K358.40, washing paste increased by 6.29 from K49.13 to K55.42 and toilet paper moved by K5.73 from K22.98 to K28.71 but that the basket also recorded decreases in the prices of items such as tomatoes which reduced by K25.25 moving from K91.01 to K65.76, potatoes which reduced by K19.05 moving from K49.36 to K30.39 and mealie meal which reduced by K28.64 from K279.14 to 250.50 for 2 25kg bags.

“From the April 2020 basket, a considerable number of both food and non-food essential items recorded price increases. This comes at the backdrop of current income challenges due to job losses and reduced incomes in the wake of COVID-19. Price increases may be attributed to the reduction in the supply of certain foods owing to country specific lockdowns introduced to halt the spread of COVID-19.

“Another factor could be the increase in demand for certain local items due to panic buying which led to shortages and consequently price increases. This comes as no surprise. In unveiling the March 2020 BNNB, JCTR projected that price increases were to be expected in the April BNNB for items like fruits owing to the impact of COVID-19 on supply chains,” Ms. Bowa said.

She however, said JCTR is pleased to note that mealie meal recorded a significant reduction in price in the month of April 2020 after price increases spanning months.

This followed Government’s commendable effort in ensuring adequate supply of the commodity on the market.

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