Help Lower Mealie-Meal Cost, Govt Told

THE Jesuit Centre for Theological Reflection (JCTR) has called on Government to quickly intervene in the rising cost of mealie-meal in the country to make it affordable to ordinary Zambians.

JCTR acting media and information officer Bwalya Musoma said in a statement released in Lusaka yesterday that, the government should intervene, both in the medium and long-term and ensure that, mealie meal prices did not increase further.

Mr Musoma said Government should also address the depreciation of the Kwacha as millers are transferring the cost to consumers.

He said the continued increase in mealie-meal prices, would aersely affect the majority of Zambians who depend on the staple food and often have very limited escape opportunities from the poverty trap.

“Aditionally, we urge the government to ensure a stable macro-economic environment-based on consistent and sound economic policies rather than political imperatives,” Mr Musoma said.

Prices for breakfast mealie-meal sharply increased from K68 to more than K82 per 25 kilogrammes bag making it difficult for many to access the commodity.

Mr Musoma said JCTR was concerned with the rising cost of living due to its aerse effects on the majority of the citizens as evidenced by the failure of some families to meet the cost of a 25 Kilogramme bag of maize meal.

“Survey findings from peri-urban markets show that there is a sharp increase in demand for small unit re-packaged mealie-meal popularly known as ‘Pamela’,” he said.

Local traders of the commodity justify the high prices on grounds that millers have not reduced the wholesale price despite Government intervention.” he said.

He said, on a general scale, the cost of living for the month of March, 2014 as measured by the JCTR’s basic needs basket for an average family of five living in Lusaka stood at K3,687.72.

Mr Musoma said this reflects an increase of K71.44 compared to the month of February 2014 when the basic needs basket stood at K3,616.28.

Source : The Times of Zambia

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