Jesuit Entity Decries High Cost of Living in Zambia, Urges Government to Act Urgently

The Logo of the Jesuit Centre for Theological Reflection (JCTR). Credit: JCTR

Officials of the Jesuit Centre for Theological Reflection (JCTR) are decrying persistent high cost of living in Zambia. 

In a statement read out by the JCTR Social and Economic Development Programme Manager on Monday, September 11, the Jesuit entity says Zambia is grappling with high unemployment levels, inadequate wages, and rising mealie meal prices, among other challenges.

“The cost of living in the country remains high, and the government has yet to give a clear road map for addressing this challenge,” Siamachoka Muchimba said, and added that JCTR leadership is “concerned about the lack of more stringent measures to improve the cost of living.”

The JCTR official said Zambia’s cost of living in the capital city, Lusaka, “has consistently remained above the K9,000 (US$427) mark with the national average cost of living exceeding K6,000 (US$285).” 

“JCTR, like the rest of the citizenry, is still looking forward to the fulfillment of the government's commitment to ‘Restore Economic Growth and Safeguard Livelihoods and particularly in relation to addressing the cost of living; we must sustain livelihoods, ensure the affordable cost of living as well as food and nutrition security for our people,’” she said referencing the maiden address of President Hakainde Hichilema to parliament on 10 September 2021 that was titled, “Creating a United, Prosperous and Equitable Zambia, Restoring Economic Growth and Safeguarding Livelihoods.” 


Ms. Muchimba said the Zambian government needs to “treat the cost-of-living challenge with utmost urgency through priority sectors, especially those that directly seek to positively impact the lives of those suffering the most from this crisis.”

As a way of taking care of those most affected by the cost of living, she said the government needs to expand programs such as the Social Cash Transfer (SCT) by enrolling more beneficiaries and scaling up the value transfer amount to K400 (US$19) paid bi-monthly “if indeed the cash in kind grant is to be meaningful.”

SCT is a Government of Zambia cash transfer scheme meant to assist vulnerable families. It offers K200, which is paid as K400 every two months, to poor families and K400, paid bi-monthly as K800, to people living with disabilities. 

In the September JCTR statement, Ms. Muchimba said the Jesuit entity is calling on the Food Reserve Agency to ensure the country’s grain reserves and additional maize are kept for price stabilization of food prices. 

Magdalene Kahiu is a Kenyan journalist with passion in Church communication. She holds a Degree in Social Communications from the Catholic University of Eastern Africa (CUEA). Currently, she works as a journalist for ACI Africa.