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Lockdowns trigger price hikes – JCTR

By BUUMBA CHIMBULU
THE Jesuits Centre for Theological Reflection (JCTR) has attributed the rising food prices to reduction in the supply of certain foods owing to lockdowns introduced to halt the spread of Covid-19.
This comes at the backdrop of current income challenges due to job losses and reduced income in the wake of Covid-19, says JCTR Programme Manager for Social and Economic Development, Chama Bowa.
Ms Bowa expressed concern that the increase in the prices of most items would result in families facing a greater challenges in meeting their basic needs, especially for households whose incomes were way below the estimated cost of living.
“Additional costs for COVID-19 prevention essentials such as masks, soaps and hand sanitisers have increased financial distress on poor and vulnerable households which now than ever before are in acute need of intervention for mere survival,” she said in a statement yesterday.
The situation, Ms Bowa said, called for urgent measures by Government to cushion households that had been negatively impacted by Covid-19.
With the projected close to 20 percent loss in revenue, Government faces significant challenges ahead.
She stressed the need to put in place measures to especially protect the poor and vulnerable still remained.
Ms Bowa said keen interest should be taken to address the looming hunger/malnutrition situation in some households.
“We recommend that Government through its relevant agencies develops a clear roadmap and budget for “victims” of Covid-19 similar to the one being used for households hit by the 2020 floods.
“For example, vulnerable homes whose livelihoods depend on hand to mouth small scale businesses, may have been badly hit by the pandemic as their business activities have now reached their lowest ebb due to, among others, the stay at home preventive measure,” she said.
Ms Bowa indicated that some marketeers the JCTR had spoken to shared how Covid-19 had impacted on their livelihoods as they had experienced significant income losses due to the reduced influx of customers.
“While Government has announced a number of measures to ensure the economy stays afloat amidst Covid-19, measures are also needed to ensure that human lives are protected and well taken care of in this time of crisis,” she said.

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