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THE monthly cost of living for a family of five has shot to $28 362 from $26 560 in March, data from the Zimbabwe National Statistics Agency (ZimStat) indicated yesterday.

Price increases have continued to eat into the consumers’ pockets whose earnings fall far below this figure.

ZimStat said a Zimbabwean consumer now requires $5 672,47 to stay above the poverty datum line (PDL), also known as the Total Consumption Poverty Line (TCPL).

This figure was $5 312,19 in March.

In December last year, ZimStat stopped reporting on the PDL for a family of five to focus on individual data.

It said this was in line with international standards.

But translated to an average family, the $5 672 adds up to $28 362.

“The Total Consumption Poverty Line (TCPL) for Zimbabwe stood at $5 672,47 per person in April 2021. This means that an individual required that much to purchase both non-food and food items as at April 2021 in order not to be deemed poor. This represents an increase of 6,8% compared to the March 2021 figure of $5 312,19,”

ZimStat said.

According to the statistics agency, the food poverty line (FPL) stood at $4 099,95 during the period.

This represents an increase of 1,7% over the March 2021 figure of $4 033.

FPL represents the amount of money that an individual requires to afford the minimum required daily energy intake of 2 100 calories.

ZimStat said the poverty datum lines varied by province as prices vary from place to place.

The data showed that Mashonaland Central had the highest cost of living at $31 770 followed by Matabeleland North and Mashonaland East with $31 420 and $30 995, respectively.

Bulawayo’s cost of living was pegged at $30 925, with Manicaland at $30 130, Masvingo ($29 135), Harare ($28 355), Midlands ($26 480) and Matabeleland South at $25 005.

The data demonstrated that Zimbabwe’s economic crisis was worsening.

The majority of people, including professionals and civil servants, are at risk of malnutrition because they earn far below the TCPL.

Civil servants have been pushing for a salary increase.

Teachers, who represent the bulk of the civil service, are said to be earning between $17 000 and $22 000 per month, but they have been demanding between US$520 and US$550 per month, or their equivalent in the local currency.

Private sector workers have been affected by a rapidly shrinking consumer base due to de-industrialisation and the resultant job losses.

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