The majority of Malawians in urban areas are still finding it hard to make ends meet as the cost of living for a family of six continues to be high than their income.
Most of such households monthly income is below K50,000 but according to the Centre for Social Concern (CfSC) May basic needs survey report, a family of six in Lilongwe will need K108,950 to meet their basic requirements while the cost in Zomba is K86,689, Blantyre K99,458 and Mzuzu K92,663.
Major drivers of the monthly living costs is food whose budget costs for Mzuzu is K60,861, Lilongwe K62,118, Zomba K53,448 and Blantyre K52,704.
Main staple food in Malawi which is maize is going at K5,179 for a 50 kg bag in Lilongwe, Mzuzu K5,000, Blantyre K4,500 and Zomba K4,333.
Non food costs charcoal, soap, utility bills and rent are adding up to K33,241 in Zomba, K46,754 in Blantyre, Mzuzu at K31,802 and Lilongwe K46,832.
Above this, there are other additional costs such as return transport to work per day by minibus pegged between K400 to K1,000 in Lilongwe, K600 in Blantyre, between K200 to K350 in Mzuzu and K240 in Zomba.
There are also more expenses for those who are paying school fees for their growing children and dependants as the students need more school accessories to be paid for.
On a larger picture CfSC Social Conditions Officer Alex Nkosi said the centre has first hand experience on how the current economic downturn is impacting poor people through implementing its projects in partnership with the people living in poverty.
“Many individuals and families live in perpetual state of anxiety and even despair when income cannot match basic needs or debt repayments.
“Without some of the above suggested practical pro-poor spending initiatives, the 2013/14 budget will remain – for many Malawians – a carefully crafted instrument tailored to serve the interests of the rich, while pushing the poor further into poverty,” Nkosi said.
He said this is why the centre is calling on government for the removal of VAT on commodities benefits both the rich and the poor alike.
“As a measure to protect the poor, CfSC proposes that government removes VAT on some basic needs (food and essential non-food items) such as soap, cooking oil, paraffin, sugar…. etc, which are inaccessible to poor Malawians because they have tax built in them, as a way of cushioning the poor from the current high cost of living,” Nkosi said.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :