Thursday, October 15, 2015
Kwacha fall frustrates shoppers in Lusaka
By Chambwa Moonga |
Updated: 15 Oct,2015 ,11:55:41
THE buying power of the kwacha has left most Lusaka residents frustrated. And the number of people, mostly women, who used to ‘overwhelm’ Pick n Pay outlet at Levy Shopping Mall in Lusaka to order bread, has severely dropped, owing to an increase in order prices of the commodity. Just this year alone, the troubled kwacha has tumbled by over 40 per cent against the US dollar, a trend that has triggered worrying price increments on several goods, especially imported products.
A check at Shoprite Manda Hill on Sunday showed that prices had been adjusted upwards on basic household commodities.
Five litres of Sun Soya cooking oil was found pegged at K114.99 while a 2.5 litres of the same commodity and brand was at K59. 99 from around K65 and K30 on average respectively a month ago.
A sack of onion cost K39. 99, a kilogramme of white refined sugar was fetching K11, 99 from K8, while two kilogrammes of sugar is now K18.29 from around K15. In the same store, baby cereal was pegged at K21. 99, with a 200 grammes of Johnson baby powder going at K29.99.
A loaf of white bread costs K4.99; two litres of Zambeef milk was going at K17. 99 from around K12, while a tray of 30 eggs was pegged at K29.99 from an average of K21. A 10kg bag of Mealile breakfast mealie meal was at K37.49 with roller meal of the same quantity pegged at K29.49. A 25kg bag of breakfast mealie meal from National Milling Company was going at K71.99.
Inside sources at the uptown store hinted that there has been a price increment of between K2 and K20 in recent months on most commodities, in response to the kwacha fall.
Most shoppers were seen pushing their quarter or half parked trolleys as others walked about with ‘lightly’ parked shopping paper bags.
Another check at Melissa Supermarket in Northmead area revealed that prices of essential goods are equally rising.
An anonymous source, when approached within Pick n Pay, said “Mitengo yama order banalundila; that’s why mwaona ati bo order lelo bachepa. Nima loss yekayeka apa manje (the order price for bread has been increased and that’s why you are only seeing a few people ordering today; selling bread is now a loss-making venture.”
The price of bread in most of Lusaka’s highly populated areas is now costing between K8 and K8.50.
Recently, PF secretary general Davies Chama said if Zambians buy expensive and luxurious bread and mealie-meal, they would think Zambia’s economy is bad when, in fact, such a phenomenon is only in their pocket.
“A lot of people have been speculating that bread is K8, K9, but go to Shoprite, you will find the price of bread at K4! But if you want to eat luxurious bread, it means you want to eat expensive bread; then it will be expensive. I was looking at the price of mealie-meal in a shop; it’s K70 per 50 kilogramme bag. I was looking at the price of Boom (washing paste), it’s K4.50. So, when people are saying the economy, the economy, some of the people it is the economy in their pockets. It’s not about the price index,” said Chama.