Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Subject: Poverty Datum Line update

Subject: Poverty Datum Line update

Figures for December have now been received from the Central Statistical Office and they show that the cost of food went down slightly in December and the average is almost the same as it was in February 2010. For all the items in the index, the December figure was also down on November's and also not far off the figure for February, but all the prices had increased during the year and they peaked out in May for food and in June for the full range of goods in the index.

No details of the items included in the index are provided in these tables, but the differences in costs between different parts of the country are shown. Compared to $466,85, the average cost for the basic requirements for a family of five for the whole country, the figure for Harare is $455,41, for Bulawayo $476,15, for Masvingo $473,57 and for Manicaland $452,29. The highest figure for the country is Matabeleland North at $507,53 and the lowest is Mashonaland Central $430,48.

The fact that a very high percentage of the working population is not earning as much as $400 a month suggests that either most households have more than one source of income, or that the definition of the word “poverty” should be re-examined. In many other countries, the monthly wages are known to be very much lower than the rates of pay in Zimbabwe and they would probably be extremely envious of their Zimbabwean counterparts.

Unfortunately for Zimbabweans, the goods that our retailers can import from those countries are making many of the jobs in this country extremely insecure and employment growth appears not to be happening in any important business sector.

The trades unions are using these PDL figures to strengthen their arguments for pay increases that will further reduce Zimbabwean manufacturers’ hopes of being able to compete, so all the signs suggest that the whole issue should become the subject of much more intense debate. But before that debate starts, workers should be advised that if their trades unions get their way, it will be at the expense of many of the jobs that exist today and many more jobs that will never come into existence.

Kindest regards,


1 comment:

  1. Zimbabweans have to work harder to sustain themselves in general everyone is improving