LILONGWE-(MaraviPost)—Malawi’s cost of living has seen a tremendous surge by 22 percent due to a significant increase of maize and fuel prices hike, Basic Needs Basket (BNB) survey has revealed.

The BNB survey for the past two years released early this week made available to Maravi Post reveals that an annual average cost of living for the family of six people has gone up from MK127, 757 in 2015 to MK164,263 representing 22%.

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The study shows that cost of living is up between November and December in 2016 from MK171 069 to MK174 069 against an average wage of MK687.30 per day.

The survey also indicates that Lilongwe (MK192 405) is the most expensive city to live followed by Blantyre (M190, 952) thirdly with Mangochi (MK182, 069) then Zomba (MK173, 445) finally Mzuzu (MK158,702).

The country’s social and economic monitoring body, Center for Social Concern (CFSC) has described the situation as a worrisome to Malawians as are dipping hard in their pockets to meet the high cost of basic needs.

The body has faulted government for hiking maize prices arguing that the move defeats  people’s ‘Right to Food’ which the Rapporteur for the Right to Food of the United Nations reminded the nation after his  visit to Malawi in 2013.

Therefore CFSC reminded government that national food security in Malawi depends on improving the performance of maize markets hence price’s hike was detrimental to the general public social-economic

The organization has queried also government for imposing taxes on basic needs including bread, water and soaps though the country’s living wage in public and private sectors remained miserable.

CFSC Director Fr.Jos Kuppens told The Maravi Post that it would be better if the cost of living matched with levels of income than the current status.

Fr. Kuppens was quick to say that with good rains the country is experiencing prospects of good crop harvest are likely to cushion cost of living down wards.

He lauded Malawians for developing coping mechanism though they fail to have basic needs in their daily undertakings.

“They should be reminded that the minimum wage is far below what the living wage should be. On the part of government it has surprised (if not angered) many commentators that VAT has been imposed on bread, water and soap. This puts another burden on those who are paid below the living wage limit as shown by the BNB survey.

“At the same time government has refused to increase the non-taxable bracket from MK20, 000 upwards. To do this would of course also mean introducing other tax brackets like 35% and/or 40% for the high earners. It is thus we can achieve greater equity and reduce the gap between rich and poor. And by the way, instead of putting VAT on bread, water and soap, why not increase taxes on beer, wines and
spirits?”, queried Kuppens.

Malawi is currently reeling from a 12.4 percent maize deficit as compared to 2015 due to El-Nino induced that hit hard the nation.