By Alois Vinga
THE cost of living continues to spiral beyond the reach of many with a family of five now requiring $ 8 484 to manage all its monthly expenses.
This is according to a May 2020 Zimbabwe National Statistics Agency (ZIMSTAT) report.
The amount is almost US$110 basing on prevailing parallel market exchange rates which are commonly relied on by transacting Zimbabweans.
However, locals working in formal jobs such as teaching earn amounts as little as $3 000.
ZIMSTAT data also shows that individual expenses have risen sharply confirming tough times for citizens whose monthly earnings remain very poor.
“The Total Consumption Poverty Line (TCPL) for one person during the same period (May 2020) stood at $1,697.00 while that for an average of five persons per household was $8,484.00,” said the agency.
These figures indicate a sharp rise from the figures recorded in the month of April in which one person requires $1,485.16 while that for an average of five persons per household stood at $7,425.81.
However, indications on the ground are that the figures predicted in April 2020 are likely to increase threefold this week owing to the recent hikes in fuel prices by almost 150%.
Prices of basic commodities and services usually respond to the dynamics in the fuel sector.
The fast weakening Zimbabwe dollar which was hurriedly introduced before taking into account holistic fundamentals required for currency stability amid the inflation rate hovering above 700 %.
The country’s minimum wage currently stands at $2 500 a month amid continued reluctance by the government to push employers to pay salaries which match adjustments in line with the cost of living.