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Undeniable rising cost of living

It can no longer be denied that the cost of living has gone up.

And even Vice-President Inonge Wina says it is true that the cost of living has gone up.

And we don’t see things improving any time soon.

The nation’s socio-economic context would continue to be challenging as the country battles with COVID-19 and the impact of the debt defaults.

It will be very difficult for the government to bring the skyrocketing food prices down. And food expenditures are not only a key national poverty indicator but are also linked to dietary intake and nutritional outcomes for households. The increase in the price of certain food items may be as a result of an increase in demand for such foods as people switch from the more expensive foods to the less expensive ones. For example, households switching to buying more of beans as the price of chicken and beef increases thereby affecting diet diversity.

This calls for a critical reflection on our nation’s state of affairs.

The depreciation of the kwacha will continue to pose serious repercussions as Zambia is an import-based country. The nation’s key macro-economic indicators remain poor. The exchange rate of the kwacha to the US Dollar stands at K21 to US $1 with serious repercussions for an import dependent nation.

Inflation continues to be rising. Year on year inflation for November 2020 as measured by the Zambia Statistics Agency stood at 17.4 per cent. A challenging debt context characterised by rising interest payments also continues to compromise social sector outcomes. Particularly, Ministry of Finance quarterly economic reports indicate lower than budgeted expenditure outturns for budget lines such as social cash transfer.

There’s need to prioritise a debt recovery plan for Zambia given the undeniable negative effects of a rising debt burden on the Zambian populace. Clearly, adequately responding to our socio-economic challenges is dependent on addressing a constrained fiscal space. But are we seeing that being put in place?

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