Former Consumer Council of Zimbabwe (CCZ) chairperson Phillip Bvumbe has warned that consumers will continue to be affected by price increases due to hikes in fuel prices triggered by conflict between Russia and Ukraine.
Experts expect the decline in fuel output to continue until the war in Eastern Europe ends.
The cost of living reached $75 000 at the end of January, while the Zimbabwe Statistics Agency (ZIMSTAT) reported that the total consumption poverty line was $9 114, translating to a cost of living of $54 684 for a family of six per month.
However, as reported by the central bank last month, the average income is below $50 000 per month.
Experts say apart from high rates of unemployment, even those formally employed continue to earn below the poverty line. Bvumbe told Standardbusiness:
If you look at the CCZ breadbasket for the end of January it stands $75 000, up from December 2021 which was $72 000.
Now, when you look at the majority of minimum wages, they are below $50 000 and yet the family basket now stands at $75 000. So, that nature would incline that most of these people are living below the consumer council basket, which means they cannot afford to access basic commodities, which are in the basket for a family of six.
The problem worsened when the Zimbabwe Energy Regulatory Authority last week raised the price of fuel per litre by 10% to US$1.67 and US$1.68 for petrol and diesel, respectively, within one week.
Bvumbe said workers in the top-notch sectors including the banking sector were also earning below the PDL (poverty datum line).
His remarks echoed reports first made by ZIMSTAT which in a recent report found that 80% of the employed persons from both formal and informal sectors were earning a monthly income of $20 000 in October 2021, against a cost of living of $42 708, for a family of six.
More: The Standard