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Cost of living shoots 6.7%

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The Centre for Social Concern (CfSC) has reported that although national headline inflation as last reported by the National Statistical Office (NSO) has slightly eased, the real impacts of the decline have not been felt by most Malawians.

And the Basic Needs Basket Survey the Centre released Tuesday shows that cost of living has in fact shot by 6.7 percent mainly on account of the unstable Kwacha and food shortages resulting from poor weather conditions.

According to CfSC, the month on month cost of basic items has maintained an increasing trend since the start of the year.

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“The cost of basic food basket for an urban low to medium income family of six people shot up by 6.7 percent, from K98, 889 in January to K105, 086 in March. During the same period last year, the food basket went down by 3.1 percent from K78, 263 to K75, 817.83,” part of the statement reads.

CfSC says maize accounted for almost 27 percent of the total food basket in the last three months rising from an average of K12,331 per 50 Kilogramme bag in January to K13, 333 before in February, representing an eight percent increase.

Additionally, CfSC says other essential food items such as bread and sugar have had their prices going up with the price for a loaf of bread going up by 16 percent, from K279 in January to K325 in March.

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“Similarly, the cost of other crucial non-food basic items such as charcoal, soap and dressing oil has also squeezed hard budgets of consumers. A 50 Kilogramme bag of charcoal went up by 31.2 percent from K5, 914 in January to K8, 772 in March. Further, a 100 grammes protex soap tablet has seen its price going up 4.5 percent and a medium packet of boom washing soap went up by 14.3 percent in March from January,” CfSC says.

Overall, the total basic needs basket, both food and non-food items increased by seven percent from K155, 301 in January to K166, 262 in March

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