JCTR urges consistence, adherence to economic goals

THE Jesuit Centre for Theological Reflection (JCTR) has called for consistency and adherence to socio-economic targets in the nation’s 2015 budget.
According to a statement released on Saturday, JCTR states that there is need to adhere to the 2015 national budget to prevent major disruptions and subsequent adverse effects in the economy.
And the December 2014 Basic Needs Basket for Lusaka increased by K210.78 bringing the total monthly expenditure to K3, 905.22 from November 2014 which stood at K3, 694.44.
This is attributed to increased cost of food items mostly, dry rations such as Kapenta, dried fish and Beans.
JCTR attributes increased cost of living in 2014 to uncertainty after the demise of President Sata.
“The year 2014 was characterised by a number of unfortunate events for Zambia. We saw a depreciation of the kwacha against major currencies to as low as K7.20 to a US dollar in the first and second quarter of the year. The year was also plagued by an upsurge in the price of the staple food maize which is used for the production of mealie-meal.
“The cost of living kept rising as the Energy Regulation Board, after consultations with other stakeholders in June 2014, approved ZESCO’s application to vary and adjust electricity tariffs by 24 percent for domestic consumers and 15 percent for commercial users,” the statement reads.
JCTR says the increase affected the manufacturers’ cost of production and on account of the increase in the cost of production while the manufacturers transferred the cost to consumers.
Meanwhile, JCTR has further called on Government to seek lasting solutions to challenges affecting small-scale farmers, if household food security is to become a reality.
JCTR observed that farmers who sold their maize to the Food Reserve Agency have had to wait longer to receive their dues.
“Each year, the government sets aside millions of kwacha for the purchase of the maize, but the amounts are not usually adequate. This forces the country’s small-scale farmers to sell the surplus to the private sector and [other] buyers at far below the national floor price,” the statement reads.

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