Zimbabweans Face Economic Agony as Prices Soar

by Adenike Adeodun

Zimbabweans are facing heightened economic distress as the national currency takes a nosedive, rendering everyday goods and services unaffordable for numerous low-income households.

Recent data from the Zimbabwe National Statistics Agency (ZimStat) reveals a stark increase in the Total Consumption Poverty Line (TCPL), surging from ZWL$95,462.53 in September to ZWL$105,072 in October for an individual. Concurrently, the food poverty line (FPL) reached ZWL$80,512 for one person.

This economic downturn drastically undermines employee incomes, propelling businesses to adjust prices in anticipation of further currency devaluation. An increasing trend among businesses is the exclusive acceptance of foreign currencies, a challenging scenario for locals earning in the rapidly depreciating Zimdollar and resorting to expensive parallel markets for exchanges.

According to a report by Newsday Zimbabwe, inflation also presents a bleak picture, with a month-on-month rise of 1.5 percentage points in October, hitting 2.5%. The annual inflation rate, as indicated by the Consumer Price Index (CPI), stood at a staggering 103.44% for October 2023.

“Consumers are confronted with escalating prices, particularly in housing, utilities, and basic nourishment,” ZimStat explained, citing significant inflation contributions from essential sectors.

The current financial strain is profoundly impacting the Zimbabwean workforce. Peter Mutasa, former president of the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions, highlighted the widespread despair among workers, pointing to prevalent mental health issues and stress-induced illnesses tied to economic pressures.

“Our recent studies indicate alarmingly low earnings, with over 73.5% of workers making less than the equivalent of US$133. Worse, 52% earn below US$33 equivalent, compelling many to adopt drastic measures like downsizing living conditions,” Mutasa revealed.

For Prosper Chitambara, an economist, the solution hinges on maintaining monetary stability. “Comprehensive reforms are essential to bolster investor confidence and stimulate business activity,” he noted.

Echoing this sentiment, economic analyst Yona Menon-Banda emphasized the role of robust fiscal strategies. “Effective inflation control involves stringent liquidity regulation and restoring public trust in monetary policy,” he said.

Zimbabwe, under President Emmerson Mnangagwa, reverted to the Zimdollar in 2019 following ten years of dollarization. Despite its plummeting value—currently standing at over ZWL$5,500 against the US dollar officially and hitting between ZWL$7,500 and ZWL$8,000 on the parallel market—calls for re-dollarization to stabilize prices face resistance from authorities affirming the Zimdollar’s permanence and projecting a single currency system by 2025’s conclusion.

Amid these economic tribulations, experts advocate for urgent, multi-faceted reforms to alleviate the citizens’ burden and set the nation on a path to recovery.

You may also like

white logo with motto

The Zimbabwe Advocate is more than just a news outlet. We are a movement, a symbol of resistance against misinformation.

Latest News

© 2024 The Zimbabwe Advocate. All Rights Reserved.