…Zambia has currently cheaper commodities than some of her neighbouring countries . This presents an opportunity for Zambians to make money by selling products to our neighbours …
Economics Association of Zambia President Dr. Lubinda Habaazoka says the increase in prices of essential commodities in the nation has been largely escalated by the advent of the Covid 19 Pandemic.
He said when Covid 19 hit, sectors of the economy which are responsible for keeping the wheels of the economy turning , such as the Mining sector which contributes about 80% of the foreign exchange inflows that come into the nation, came to a near standstill.
He said with the shutting down of the mines , the tourism and hospitality industry also suffered greatly as did trade especially that about 80% of the companies are foreign owned owing to the fact that over 245 Zambian companies where privatized in the 90s.
” When Covid 19 came , they all left .They left with the dollars. So what happened is that there was scarcity of dollars . But we still needed to buy fuel , to buy cloths to import food, fertiliser and a lot of things so that our day to day activities were not interrupted. We needed to import facemasks and medicines,” he said .
He said in the event that there is no forex in the nation, the Kwacha looses value . And because most entities are foreign owned in Zambia, the nation and the currency were badly hit resulting in escalating of prices of essential goods .
He said Government had to use its administrative and economic instruments to ensure that the commodities that form the food basket such as mealie meal and also things such as fuel did not escalate.
“So what are we seeing now, what is the end result? Yes ,prices have increased on average to not more than 80% .But South Africa , 300% Price increase in essentials .They don’t have a staple food like we do .They eat various foods .They eat Nshima , they call it Pap but that is not their staple food .So what is on their table is going to escalate. So when you see an increase in SA is 300% and in Zambia 80%, we need to pat ourselves on the back ,” he said .
He said the depreciation of the Kwacha had also helped because the products were now cheap though in dollar terms things had become expensive .
He gave an example of how imported Ketchup was more expensive than the locally manufactured one.
“I went to Mansa shoprite and found imported Ketchup at K45 and local ketchup at K15,”
He said Zambia needed to take a leaf from China which had taken deliberate steps to make their currency the cheapest in the world ,which was why people were flocking to China to order goods for sale.
He said because of the depreciation of the Kwacha , Zambia now had the cheapest fuel .
He said Zambia is on the right course having managed to contain the increase in prices .
Dr. Habaazoka said this on the Round Table Talk, a talk show hosted by Nakiwe Simpungwe for Smart Eagles and also broadcast on Millennium TV, Channel 95 on Topstar every tuesdays and thursdays.
Dr. Habaazoka has since urged Zambian Citizens to increase on productivity to improve their economic situation and not to put their focus on politicking .
” I see a bid to export eggs , to export mealie meal, tomatoes , onions and other things because goods in Zambia have become cheaper than other countries. Those who are working , engage also in business..I’ve just given you an example of Ketchup. Phone a shop in Malawi , tell them I’ll bring ketchup. Go to Shoprite or any other Chain store and take it to Malawi and go and sell it. That’s how business works. I remember my mother going to South Africa and buying goods for resale in Zambia , so let’s do reverse cross broader trading and let us sell to other countries instead, ” he said .