Little Christmas cheer after businesses hiked prices

by Tulip Charowa

AS Zimbabwe’s economy woes continue to deepen, price increases affected on many of the country’s citizens forgoing the Christmas festivities.

The soaring cost of goods and services, coupled with a weakening local currency saw the government paying civil servants their bonuses in US dollars to cushion them against rising inflation, but businesses responded by increasing prices of basic commodities.

Statistics released from Zimstat, the country’s official statistics agency on Friday, Zimbabwe’s annual inflation rate rose to 60.74% year on year in December from 58.4% in November.

And on a monthly basis, consumer prices went up 5.76%.

The Zimbabwe Energy Regulatory Authority (ZERA) announced the fuel prices for December, the maximum pump price of diesel is set at US$1,42 per litre while that of petrol is capped at US$1,38 per litre.

ZERA also has announced price hikes of liquefied petroleum gas (LP Gas) for December, to US$2,14 per kilogram.

The increase in gas price comes at a time when the country is facing relentless power cuts lasting 8 hours per day.

Economic analyst Victor Bhoroma said that it is a low key festive season for Zimbabweans with nothing much to cheer.

“It is a challenging time for most Zimbabweans though this year the level of inflation is relatively lower than in the past two festive holidays. Much still needs to be done on the poverty alleviation front, employment creation and redistribution of income to marginalised areas of the country,“said Bhoroma.

Citizens say they were facing a tough time, the price increases means their salaries have been further eroded and putting food on the table this festive season is a mammoth task.

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