Poverty on the rise as government’s reforms fail to yield results

Harare- As prices of goods and services continue increasing and salaries are increasing at a reduced rate, life is becoming harder for the average person in Zimbabwe.

 The money they earn is buying less and less on a weekly, if not daily basis.

Statistics released by the Zimbabwe National Statistics Agency (ZIMSTAT) show that the Total Consumption Poverty Line (TCPL) for an average of five persons per household stood at $3 160.00 in October 2019 a 44 per cent increase from $ 2 191.62 in September this year.

The Food Poverty Line (FPL) for one person in October 2019 was $271.00, a 53% increase from $176.61 in the previous month.

What these statistics show is that every month, prices of goods and services, that is food and non-food items keep going up but just like in most struggling economies, salaries are remaining the same hence the number of poor people in the country keeps increasing.

This is supported by the latest report by the United Nations  which stated that in rural areas, a staggering 5.5 million people are currently facing food insecurity, as poor rains and erratic weather patterns are impacting harvests and livelihoods while in urban areas, an estimated 2.2 million people are food-insecure and lack access to minimum public services, including health and safe water.

Efforts by government to ease the burden of the hyperinflationary situation on citizens which has seen the inflation rate reaching 440.1 % in October 2019 have not yielded much results.

As soon as salaries are raised or in government terms, as soon as civil servants are “cushioned” the prices of goods especially basic commodities soar higher thereby eroding the so-called cushioning and as a result, things make a turn for the worst instead of improving.

Recently, after the announcement by the Minister of Finance and Economic Development, Professor Mthuli Ncube in his 2020 budget presentation that government was going to remove subsidies on grain, there was talk of price increases with some retailers increasing prices of food items such as mealie meal.

However, before a month even passed, the same government made a U-turn, with President Mnangagwa announcing a reversal of this move but this has had no impact on the pricing of goods as evidenced by the increase in the price of bread this past week from $14 to about $18.

The effects of proposed reforms as stated in the 2020 budget are yet to be seen, that is if they are going to bring any relief to the struggling populace or to worsen the situation in the country.

Equity Axis News

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