The cost of living for a family of six rose by 14,2% to $355 137 last month as a result of price shocks during the holiday season that were influenced by producers and suppliers of goods responding to increases in disposable income, Consumer Council of Zimbabwe (CCZ) data has shown.

Apparently, the increase in Value Added Tax by the government through the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority has seen businesses hiking their prices.

The country’s biggest mobile operator Econet Wireless has since hiked its tariffs in line with new VAT charges effected by the government.

In his National Budget for this year, Finance and Economic Development Minister Mthuli Ncube raised VAT to 15% from around 14.3%.

Meanwhile, in November, the cost of living figure stood at $310 910.

More people are expected to be driven into abject poverty as the majority of workers — particularly in the private sector are low earners.

According to Japhet Moyo, secretary general of the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions, employees in industries including printing, security and agriculture make between $95 000 and $150 000 per month.

Save for civil servants, most people in Zimbabwe are in the informal sector which has not been spared by the inflationary environment, eroding their daily earnings.