Zimbabwe Family Costs Surge to ZWL$2.6 Million Amid Currency Depreciation

by Ikeoluwa Ogungbangbe

The Consumer Council of Zimbabwe (CCZ) has reported a significant increase in the cost of the family basket, now at ZWL$2.6 million. This spike is attributed to the escalating prices of essential commodities, creating financial hardships for numerous families across Zimbabwe.

The CCZ highlighted the depreciation of the local currency against the US dollar as a major factor. In September alone, certain essential goods experienced a price hike of over 20%. Significant contributors to this surge include the costs of mealie-meal, utilities, and education.

CCZ spokesperson, Philemon Chereni, detailed the changes: “The cost of living for a low-income urban family of six, based on CCZ metrics, witnessed a 6.24% increase, rising from ZWL$2,539,494.10 to $2,697,554.08. Factors like a hike in fuel prices, which rose by 0.06%, and the supermarket rate’s depreciation by 2.7% affected overall prices in the family basket.”

In September 2023, education costs surged by a staggering 52.6%. Chereni noted that the School Development Committee’s levy adjustment in education added to the financial burden, alongside significant rises in costs for items like water rates, roller meal, and fresh milk. On the other hand, some commodities like electricity, transport, and brown sugar saw a dip in prices, though the overall trend remained upward.

Economist Eddie Cross critiqued the government’s handling of the economic situation. “The main catalyst for the surge in commodity prices is the devaluation of our local currency,” Cross said. “There’s a glaring lack of initiative from the government to rectify this issue. A majority of our workforce is paid in local currency, making it the primary inflation driver. With the right economic strategies and management, these issues could be addressed swiftly. As of now, our monetary system is in disarray.”

Adding to the concerns, the Zimbabwe National Statistics Agency disclosed last month that the cost of living rose by 10.4%. The food poverty line for an individual now stands at ZWL$77,186, up from ZWL$69,941.05 in June.

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