The Southern African nation of Zambia is expected to record a significant increase in the cost of living by the end of January 2022, officials of the Jesuit Centre for Theological Reflection (JCTR) have said.

In their January 19 Basic Needs and Nutrition Basket (BNNB) report that outlines Zambia's cost of living for December 2021, the Jesuit scholars say increase in global fuel prices is likely to have an impact on the anticipated rise in the cost of living.

“It is expected that January will record more price increases and overall, a higher cost of living” JCTR officials say.

Officials of the Lusaka-based institution add, “Given the increase in fuel prices, Zambians should be ready for the cost of living to significantly go up in January 2022.”

In the light of the anticipated rise in the cost of living, JCTR officials urge Zambians “to embrace consumption of the more nutritious roller meal to keep the cost of living lower.”

Members of the research, education and advocacy institution however express hope that by the commencement of the implementation of the 2022 national budget, interventions that impact on the cost of living could be actualized and sustained.

“For example, in the 2022 budget, with a view to improve the Farmer Input Support Program, government plans to implement a new comprehensive agriculture support program. A thriving agriculture sector is key in supporting livelihoods and keeping the cost of living affordable for the average Zambian,” JCTR officials say, and recommend that “this is prioritized and that seasonality issues are addressed.”

The Jesuit scholars recognize the “timely release” of initial Social Cash Transfer as well as pensioners’ funds saying these initiatives are expected to provide “the much needed income support to households.”

They further urge the Zambian government “to sustain the timely release of funds for key social sector spending budget lines as these are key in cushioning the poor and the marginalized in the context of a high cost of living.”

“Actualizing all these interventions will necessitate the possibility of improving the living standards and conditions of the ordinary citizens, especially the marginalized, the vulnerable and the poor,” JCTR officials say.

In the BNNB report, the Jesuit scholars indicate that the cost of living for December 2021 had gone up.

“Total food cost increased by a larger margin than non-food items,” they say in the report titled, “Demanding Actualization of Cushioning Interventions Contained in the 2022 National Budget.”

JCTR officials have attributed the increased food prices to December festivities. They say, “The month of December being a festive period historically registered price increases especially in items such as chicken, beef and rice due to increased demand.”

Republished from ACI Africa.