Malawi's cost of living soars

The monthly basic needs basket survey conducted by the Centre for Social Concern  (CFSC) says the cost of living in Lilongwe has gone up with an average family of 6 living in Malawi  cities will now need around K55,000 per month to afford basic necessities.

The survey was conducted in  Mzuzu, Zomba, Blantyre and Lilongwe.

This is an increase from K40,000 for the month of October in 2010 and the NGO said fluctuating cost of food is the main reason of the rise with a 50kg bag of maize going at an average of K2,000.

The survey which includes basic needs such as utility bills, rentals, food and school fees shows that a family of six in Lilongwe needed K63,947 to survive in October while those in Zomba needed K53,823 while Blantyre and Mzuzu needed K58,254  and  K53,606 respectively.

“In the month of October, the price of maize hit an average of 11.7% increase in the four cities (Mzuzu, Lilongwe, Blantyre and Zomba). Equally the rural areas have been badly hit by the rising prices of maize. The fact that the staple food is recording alarming price increase is indicative of hard times ahead,” the survey reports reads.

CfSC said low and medium income households can expect the largest fall in their disposable incomes in the months to come and would better prepare for a squeeze in attempts to meet basic needs, the like of which many people might have never witnessed before.

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“It is a wake-up call to government and other stakeholders in people’s livelihoods to monitor the situation closely for timely interventions as the upcoming lean season might be more than what the country might have known in the previous years,” said the centre.

CfSC said much as not every employer might agree to increase wages government can contemplate other possible ways of distributive justice such as raising the non-taxable bracket from the current K12, 000 to K25,000 and add further brackets to ensure that the income taxes are structured in such a way that the tax burden rises as income rises.

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