After a lot of delays, ZIMSTAT recently released this month’s inflation which now stands at an astounding 256% compared to 191.6% last month. The government agency tried to paper over this fact by not mentioning that this was an increase of over 60% in a single month. At the same time, month on month inflation was 25.6% compared to 30.7% last month a fact the government was happy to broadcast as a positive.
Data on the poverty datum lines does not read better:
The Food Poverty Line (FPL) for one person i July 2022 was $17 909.00 ZWL.
The Total Consumption Poverty Line (TCPL) for one person stood at $23 479.00 ZWL in July 2022.Data from the latest ZIMSTAT survey
While in the past ZIMSTAT used to publish this data for a single family of five nowadays they only publish data for a single person. This was supposedly done because it is now the international norm but we suspect it is because the data for a single person just reads better compared to the alarming data for an average family of five or six. Given the above figures:
- A core family of six would have needed about $90 000 ZWL on food alone per month and $120 000 ZWL in total expenditure to wade through the month of July
- A family of six would have needed $108 000 ZWL and $140 000 ZWL respectively.
- This translates to US$214 for a family of five and US$257 for a family of six for food respectively if we are using the official rate of $420 ZWL. There is a logic to that method as the government uses this rate when paying civil servants the largest employed group in the country.
- Those amounts go down to US$90 and US$108 if we use the current rate of $1000 ZWL that supermarkets are using.
Zimbabwe’s economy is in crisis
The government following Finance Minister Mthuli Ncube’s lead likes to pretend there is no crisis in Zimbabwe. They dismiss all data that does not support their viewpoint as an anomaly tormented by their foes hellbent on trivialising the good the second republic has done in rebuilding the economy and latch onto every positive piece of data. The truth is that the bulk of macroeconomic data in this country shows that there is a full-blown economic crisis and whatever little data painted a positive picture is vanishing like mist in the face of a rising sun.
Not only do we now have triple-digit inflation, but we also do not have enough maize which is a staple despite billions wasted on command agriculture exercises, we are living through devastating powercuts for the second time during the tenure of the second republic, and most people earn less than the poverty lines published by the government itself, more people live in poverty compared to 2107 according to the government, more roads are in a state of disrepair despite wanton printing for infrastructure and we could go on but the point is clear. The Zimbabwean government is far off course and if that is not a crisis I do not know what is.
There are no distractors here. We all want a prosperous and thriving Zimbabwe where everyone and every place is seeing development but this is not the situation on the ground, unfortunately.