The rising cost of living, inflation hovering over 250 per cent as well as a weak local currency meant that arguably millions of Zimbabweans could not enjoy Christmas as much as they would have wanted.
A survey carried out by The Standard revealed that the majority of adult Zimbabweans would rather set aside the little saved during a difficult year for increased school fees, and high prices of uniforms and stationery.
Economic commentator Gift Mugano said this year’s festive season is a difficult one for the majority of Zimbabweans. Said Mugano:
The starting point to note is that 49% of people in Zimbabwe are living in extreme poverty.
When you are in extreme poverty, you are living on less than US$1 a day.
So it means that for that segment of the population it’s in a mess.
They don’t have enough resources to celebrate the festive season.
He also noted that the high tare of inflation coupled with almost stagnant salaries eroded disposable incomes. Said Mugano:
It means the prices are increasing at a faster rate. Employers cannot compensate their workers enough.
Aggregate and that average demand have been falling by an average of 33%.
This has an impact on income going to companies and they are also constrained to pay their employees.
So we are getting into Christmas, the festive season, without money.
So for parents who are struggling, it does not make sense to spend money on Christmas festivities or New Year celebrations and then get stuck in as far as payment of fees is concerned.
Meanwhile, the Confederation of Zimbabwe Retailers (CZR) president, Denford Mutashu said retailers had tried to cushion their customers. He said:
We have consistently lobbied and advocated for not only a friendlier policy environment but for business to price responsibly.
The stability enjoyed in the last quarter of the year is a direct result of government and business engagement which the association has been part of.