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Economic challenges push inflation rate to 21.1%

KALUMBI

TRYNESS TEMBO, Lusaka
ZAMBIA’S inflation rate has closed the year at 21.1 percent against the targeted seven percent because of unpredictable economic challenges the country experienced in 2015.
And Zambia’s population has increased by 18.5 percent from about 13 million in 2010 to over 15 million last year, the Living Conditions Monitoring Survey (LCMS) for 2015 conducted by the Central Statistical Office (CSO) has revealed.
CSO director for census and statistics John Kalumbi attributed the increase in inflation from 19.1 percent in November to 21.1 percent in December to the continued increase in the prices of both food and non-food items.
Falling prices of copper on the international market and a crippling energy crisis triggered by insufficient rainfall saw the Kwacha depreciating to an unprecedented low causing a spiral in the prices of goods and services.
Mr Kalumbi said yesterday at a press briefing annual food inflation rate in the period under review increased from 23.4 percent to 24.8 percent representing a 1.4 percent upswing
He said the non-food inflation rate also increased from 15.5 percent to 17.1 percent, indicating a 1.6 percent rise.
“The annual rate of inflation, as measured by the all items consumer price index for December 2015, increased to 21.1 percent compared to 19.5 percent recorded in November,” he said.
Mr Kalumbi said the drivers of the increase in inflation rate on food and non-alcoholic beverages are maize grain, bread, imported bread flour, buka buka fish, dried bream, rape vegetable and dried beans.
He said between December 2014 and 2015 furnishing, household equipment, routine household and maintenance recorded the highest annual rate of inflation at 27.9 percent.
Meanwhile, Zambia has recorded a trade deficit from about K2.6 billion in October to about K1.2 billion.
The highest trade deficit recorded this year was in October valued at about K2.6 billion while the lowest was recorded in February, 2015 at K74.8 million
And Zambia’s population has increased by 18.5 percent from about 13 million in 2010 to over 15 million last year, the living conditions monitoring survey for 2015 conducted by the CSO revealed.
The LCMS is used to assess the welfare of the Zambian population and the first was undertaken in 1996 and subsequent surveys in 1998, 2002/03, 2004 and 2010.
Mr Kalumbi said the survey collected data on various topics on demographic characteristics.
“The estimated total population on the living conditions monitoring survey 2010 was 13,064,000 in 2010 and 15,474,000 in 2015, representing an increase of 18.5 percent,” he said.
He said distribution of the population shows there were more people in rural areas than in urban areas in both 2010 and 2015.

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