The family basket has nearly doubled to ZWL$6,2 million from ZWL$3,6 million in December due to the continued depreciation of the Zimdollar, the Consumer Council of Zimbabwe (CCZ) has said, spelling disaster for thousands of families countrywide.
The rise in the family basket could put employers and their workers on a collision course, with the latter pushing for salary reviews.
Civil servants have begun calls for a salary review and want the lowest paid employee to earn US$800 from the current salary of US$300 plus a local currency component.
CCZ director-corporate affairs Philemon Chereni yesterday said the Zimdollar had depreciated by 61,5% during the month of January.
But according to statistics released by The Zimbabwe National Statistics Agency (ZimStat) last week, month-on-month inflation rate for January 2024 was 6,6%, gaining 1,9 percentage points on the December 2023 rate of 4,7%.
ZimStat said the year-on-year inflation rate for the month of January 2024, as measured by the all-items consumer price index, was 34,8%.
“The Consumer Council of Zimbabwe’s low income urban earner monthly basket for January 2024 is at ZWL$6 242 051,65 from $3 628 994,20 as of December 2023. The increase in prices is attributed to the weakening of the local currency which depreciated by 61,5% in the period under review,” Chereni said.
The development comes at a time when most retailers have pegged prices in United States dollars with some demanding payment for some goods exclusively in foreign currency.
A number of retailers are promoting the use of the United States dollar by offering huge discounts to those buying using the greenback while punishing shoppers with local currency.
The Zimdollar is currently trading at 1:10 927 against the US$ at the official market and 1:14 000 in supermarkets and 1:16 000 at the parallel market rate.
CCZ last week warned of further of basic commodity price hikes after government rescinded duty on basis commodities.
The sharp depreciation of the local currency has escalated calls for the redollarisation of the economy. Statistics show that eight out of 10 local transactions are conducted in United States dollar.
Authorities, however say the Zimbabwe dollar is here to stay working alongside the greenback.
“The redollarisation juggernaut is unstoppable and the sooner the authorities realises this, the better,” an economic analyst said yesterday.
“They [authorities] are at sixes and sevens and have no measures to stop the sharp depreciation of the local currency.”