On 23rd March 2022, the News Diggers Newspaper quoted Finance and National Planning Minister, Dr. Situmbeko Musokotwane stating that despite the commodity prices rising, they are increasing at a slower rate compared to the time in which the UPND took over government. Since the New Dawn Government came into power, there has been widespread concern over high cost of living.
The Fact Checking Process has established as false the claim that commodity prices are rising at a slower rate compared to the time the New Dawn Government took office.
iVerify used the cost of living for a family of five as measured by the Jesuit Centre for Theological Reflection (JCTR)’s Basic Needs and Nutrition Basket (BNNB) for Lusaka over 14 months with August 2021 taken as a control month. The BNNB tracks the costs of food and non-food items in order to assess the cost of living for the average family size of ﬁve members as estimated by the Zambia Statistics Agency (ZamStats).
iVerify analysed the rate of increase for the cost of living 6 months before August 2021 and 6 months after August 2021. The findings show that the increase in the cost of living for the period January 2021 to July 2021 was at a K102 while the cost of living for the period of September 2021 to February 2022 increased to K892. This means that the amount of money a family spends to meet their needs is very high compared to their average income.
The cost of living represents the average cost of an accepted standard of living including basic food items and essential non-food items. Cost of living is frequently used to compare minimum income needs in a given location, town or country. Cost of living measures the change, up or down, of the basic necessities of life, like food, housing, and healthcare.
In an interview with iVerify on 28th March 2022, JCTR explained that since January 2022 the cost of living in Zambia has been on the upward trend corresponding to the rise in commodity prices. This scenario is not surprising given that the rise in fuel pump prices generally does have a spiral effect on the commodity prices in Zambia.
This shows that the claim by the Minister of Finance that prices of commodities have been raising at a slower rate compared to the time the UPND took over office is false.