COVID-19 spurs poverty levels, TCPL up by 37% in July

  • FPL for one stood at $1 329
  • TCPL for an average household of five persons stood at $15 573
  • Govt yet to pay out cushioning package for the vulnerable

Harare- As more than half the population in Zimbabwe faces food insecurity which has been worsened by the COVID-19 pandemic, the food poverty line keeps rising due to inflationary pressures while government is failing to come the aid of the vulnerable.

According to the Zimbabwe National Statistics Agency (ZIMSTAT), the Food Poverty Line (FPL) in July rose by 40% for both one person and an average household of five persons.

FPL for one person increased to $1 329 from $950 in June while that for an average household of five persons increased to $6 643 from $4 749 in June 2020.

The Total Consumption Poverty Line (TCPL) for one person increased by 37% to $3 115 in July from $2 267 in June while that for an average of five persons per household rose to $15 573 from $11 334 in June, also a 37% increase.

These increases come at a time when the standards of living for the ordinary Zimbabwean continue to deteriorate due to harsh macroeconomic conditions that have become the norm and have worsened due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Since the implementation of the initial 21-day nationwide lockdown in March as a way to curtail the spread of the coronavirus, most people have not been able to work as much as they did before the pandemic hit while some have lost their jobs as companies fight to remain afloat.

 Consequently, most households have not been able to cater for their basic needs such as food and medical care.

Government, in response to the plight of the population has promised to help the vulnerable through a ZWL$300 cushioning package per month which to date, people are still looking forward to receiving.

Against the above mentioned TCPLs, the paltry cushioning package will not do much to alleviate the challenges faced by the vulnerable.

The World Bank projects that the COVID-19 pandemic and associated economic crisis could push between 71 and 100 million people into extreme poverty.

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