Most salaries fall below poverty datum line

HARARE - A low-income urban family of six now needs $96 326 per month in order to sustain a decent standard of living, the Consumer Council of Zimbabwe (CCZ) has revealed.
The consumer watchdog said the recent figures reflect a 27, 7 percent increase from the July figure of $75 439.

aid the total cost of the August basket in US dollar terms is US$385,31 based on the ruling interbank exchange rate.
“The cost of living as depicted by the CCZ’s low-income urban earners monthly budget for a family of six has risen from $75 439 in July to $96,326 in August reflecting a 27, 7 percent increase,” CCZ said.
If the CCZ basket was to be taken as the official poverty datum line threshold it means that most people are living below the PDL as most salaries fall below the latest figures.
However, with the new income-tax free threshold of $20 000 introduced by the Minister of Finance, Herbert Murerwa, in his mid-term fiscal policy review, and which comes into effect this month, this is likely to lessen the burden on the consumers who are currently living from hand to mouth.
CCZ said notable price increases were recorded in education, which rose by 89,9 percent from $3 512 in July to $6 671 this month, margarine rose from $722, 01 to $1 270, 25 representing a 75, 9 percent surge while
transport was up 50 percent from $300 to $450.
Other remarkable increases were recorded in the prices of washing powder, which rose by 40 percent from $807, 07 to $1 133, 71, rice was 38 percent up to $1 136, 50 from $820, 07 and cooking oil increased by 32 percent
from $484, 06 to $639, 80.
“The major mover was education, as the new term began most schools increased their school fees and levies for the third term. Transport operators have continued to increase fares which has impacted  negatively on consumer budgets.
“Transport costs increased in June, July and August by 46, 7 percent, 36, 4 percent and 50 percent respectively, which means that there has been an increase every single month as from June and this is not justifiable at all considering that commuter omnibus operators have been accessing fuel from the National Oil Company of Zimbabwe (Noczim) at a subsidised price,” CCZ said.
The consumer watchdog also took a swipe at fuel dealers who are not adhering to the recently gazetted prices of fuel saying it is deplorable that service stations have continued to sell fuel at the old price while some have been withholding the commodity.
Government recently pegged the price of petrol and diesel at $335 and $320 per litre respectively.
CCZ applauded the monetary authorities for the recent currency reforms but bemoaned the unjustified price increases by some retailers during the transition from the old to the new system.
“According to observations noted in some surveys conducted by CCZ, some retailers removed zeros while rounding off to the nearest dollar or tenth thereby increasing the prices of the commodities,” CCZ said.
Meanwhile, the consumer watchdog has called for the expeditious setting up of the National Incomes and Pricing Commission (NIPC), whose mandate would be to regulate the prices of goods and services among others.
CCZ also urged government, business and labour- social partners in the Tripartite Negotiating Forum (TNF)- to put their house in order and conclude talks on the prices and incomes stabilisation protocol.
“Generally, CCZ is very disappointed that the TNF has failed to come up together as a body to fulfill its mandate,” CCZ said. – Staff reporter

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