By Nation Reporter
PRIORITISING value addition will trigger industrialisation which will then increase export earnings, the Jesuit Centre for Theological Centre (JCTR) programmes officer for social development Innocent Ndashe has said.
Mr Ndashe said value addition if prioritised had the potential to trigger industrialisation, exports and economic growth that had a direct impact on citizens.
He was speaking at the JCTR forum on high inflation rate and its impact on the cost of living.
“JCTR urges that the value addition be prioritised to the country’s raw materials as this has potential to trigger industrialisation, export earnings, employment opportunities for citizens and growth that has direct impact on citizens,” he said.
Mr Ndashe observed that lack of viable industries and increased demand on certain commodities such as mealie meal by neighbouring countries had contributed to the high cost of living in Zambia.
‘‘It is unfortunate that the cost of living has steadily increased amidst high unemployment levels, stagnant incomes for most public and non-public workers while the agriculture sector is not performing to expected levels due to lack of support from the manufacturing sector,” he said.
He observed that human dignity of citizens was compromised in a situation where there was high inflation rate.
He said a JCTR survey last month showed that prices of essential food and non-food items in 15 towns in Zambia had risen.
Economic Association of Zambia board member Philippe Masengo told the forum that keeping up with high inflation when the income was not growing was tough.
Mr Masengo said consumers must cut spending and increase earnings by working more to survive.
“Savers benefit in inflationary times, they take the opportunities. Cutting spending and increasing earnings by working more is one of the fixes to inflation pressures on the consumer side,” he said.
He also said EAZ was advocating the adoption the Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA) by the Government which applied to wages, salaries and benefits.
He explained that COLA was used for union agreements, contractual employees and other executives and retirees’ benefits
“COLA helps retirees, who are on a fixed income, to maintain a viable standard of living in the face of inflation. For the Government, COLA is a ‘social agreement’ between people and the Government that should inflation rise, you shall be responsible,” he explained.