By STUART LISULO
THE cost of living in Lusaka has increased to K5, 229 from K4, 957, the highest-ever recorded, according to the Jesuit Centre of Theological Reflection (JCTR).
This has been triggered by sharp rises in cost of housing and electricity.
In a statement released in Lusaka, JCTR states that the cost of living in January leaped to an unprecedented K5,229, the highest-ever recorded since the inception of the Basic Needs Basket (BNB).
It states in its BNB, which normally takes into account the cost of living for a family of five across 15 major urban towns in the country, that Lusaka’s highest cost of living has been triggered by huge increases in the cost of electricity and housing, among others.
“JCTR has recorded its highest figure for Lusaka’s cost of living in January, 2018 at K5,229 since the Basic Needs Basket inception in the early 1990s.
“Last year, the BNB closed off at K4,957 and this year it has started at a higher figure of K5,229. The higher than usual increase in the Basket is largely attributed to the one-off price adjustment of particular BNB items such as electricity, housing and water,” JCTR states in a press release.
“The January, 2018 JCTR BNB for a family of five living in Lusaka was K272 more than the December 2017 BNB. The increase in the BNB was largely attributed to increased costs in key non-food items such as electricity and housing.”
JCTR explains that the two upward electricity tariff adjustments last year triggered the huge increase in the cost of living.
“With the upward adjustment of electricity tariff of 75 percent in 2017, a sharp increase in the JCTR BNB is inescapable. After the 75 percent Zesco’s tariff upward adjustment, electricity cost increased from K200 to K292 per 402 kWh.
“Housing increased from K2,650 to K3,000 for a 3-bedroomed house in medium density areas,” it states.
The cost of living in other urban centres like Kitwe on the Copperbelt province also increased significantly in January, the JCTR states.
“Kitwe recorded an increase in some items such as housing which increased from K1,650 to K1,800 for a 3-bedroomed house in medium density areas,” the Centre states.
And the JCTR has urged Government to develop strategies that will attract investment in the energy sector to bring down the cost of electricity.
“As JCTR, we urge Government to develop strategies that will attract investment in the energy sector. This is because a diversified and competitive energy sector would yield the desired result of bringing down the cost of electricity,” says JCTR. – Story courtesy of SUMA SYSTEMS.