The PF government should introduce zero rating on food products to mitigate the effects of high food prices following the removal of subsidies which that has contributed to increasing hunger among the citizens, says the Jesuit Centre for Theological Reflection (JCTR).
JCTR social conditions programmes managers Daniel Mutale said the Basic Needs Basket (BNB) for the month of June has increased by almost K100 because of high food prices.
“The effects of removal of subsidies on basic food items are deepening, and this calls for an urgent response to address the rising food costs,” Mr. Mutale said.
Mr. Mutale said the cost of living for the month of June had evidently increased as the cost of essential commodities especially food had doubled according to the JCTR June BNB report.
He said from the time the subsidies were removed in May, an acumulative increase in cost of food items has gone up by almost a total of K 90.86 compared to that of April / May which was K 31.60.
“The total cost of essential food items contributed most to this increase by K 41.78 while that of essential non food items increased by K 17.48 with such commodities such as Mealie meal, beans, dry fish and beef by K 3.18, K 1.49, K 24.62 and K1.13 respectively, explain the increase,” he explained.
According to Satellite Home Survey carried out by the organisation in selected high density areas in the capitall, a great number of families relied on mealie meal for their basic meals which prices have strained the already struggling families, compromising household food security.
“The fact that it is the basic food items whose prices are affected is worrisome as these are integral to the diet of the majority poor. Thus the current and potential future increase in its cost and those of other basic food items will both constrain the already struggling families and pose a threat to household food security,” he charged.
JCTR has disclosed that the average cost of mealie meal was K59.28 which price was too high for the ordinary citizenry struggling with high unemployment levels.
“In view of the fact that so far no well articulated framework has been put in place to ensure that the poor do not suffer adverse shocks of price changes, the JCTR strongly urges government to tackle rising cost of basic commodities,” Mr. Mutale..