Posted by Evans Jona
The Poverty Datum Line (PDL) statistics revealed by the Zimbabwe Statistics Agency (Zimstat) on Tuesday highlighted that Matabeleland North Province had the highest Poverty Datum Line at $4 505 in December 2019, up from $4 048 in November of the same year.
The statistics further indicated that during the same month at national level, an average Zimbabwean family of five required at least $4 188 to meet basic food and other requirements for it not to be deemed as poor.
Economic analysts and those familiar with figures have expressed that the statistics are a true reflection of how the economic situation in Zimbabwe is causing a strain on the general public.
In an interview with Skyz Metro FM news, Advocacy and Campaigns Advisor for The National Consumer Rights Association, Effie Ncube, said the figures presented by Zimstats with regards to Matebeleland North Province’s PDL were realistic considering how poor the area was.
Ncube attributed the increase of the PDL to a decline in the value of the Zimbabwean dollar due to unprecedented inflation rates particularly after the formal introduction of the local currency in the country last year.
He added that the cost of living for the majority of the Matebeleland North civil service populace is high especially when compared to the salaries they receive.
Ncube highlighted with concern how the decline in the value of the local currency has resulted in prices of commodities being illegally charged in foreign currency, particularly the South African Rand, Pula and US dollar, saying it is a major contributory factor to the high PDL recorded in Matebelaland North.
He added that this has resulted in Zimbabwe dollar prices for the same commodities rising at an unfriendly rate as retailers compete with the foreign currency rate on the parallel market.