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Average salary very low as poverty bites

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SEVEN out of 10 employed people in Zimbabwe earned a monthly salary of ZW$20 000 in January this year, an income which was below the obtaining bread basket as urban poverty hits the southern African nation, a new report has shown.

BERNARD MPOFU

Despite projections of a boom, Zimbabwe’s floundering economy has thrown millions, in both urban and rural areas, into abject poverty.

A new ZimStat 2022 First Quarter Labour Force Survey Results report has revealed the glaring discrepancy between incomes and monthly requirements. According to the Consumer Council of Zimbabwe, a family of six required ZW$72 967 in January to meet basic needs.

The ZimStat report also shows that the working age population was estimated at nine million, constituting 59% of the total population. The total labour force obtained from the survey was 3.8 million, giving a total Labour Force Participation Rate of 44%.

Twenty-eight percent of the employed population was in the formal sector while 45% were in the informal sector. Of those in employment, 24% and 4% were in the agriculture and household sectors, respectively.

“Eighty-eight percent of the employed population were informally employed. The wholesale trade; retail trade and repair of motor vehicles and motor cycles industry had the largest proportion of the employed population at 26% followed by agriculture, forestry and fishing with 24%,”  the report reads.

“Seventy-seven percent of the employed persons earned income of RTGS$20 000 and below during the month of January 2022.

“Nineteen percent of persons 15 years and above were unemployed. Among males the rate was 18% while for females it was 21%. Matabeleland North province had the highest unemployment rate of 37%. The age groups (15-19) years had the highest unemployment rate of 39% followed by those aged (20-24) years at 34%.”

The survey revealed that there were 27 000 labour migrants of whom 45% came from Mozambique followed by 20% who came from Zambia. One percent of the employed population had at least one form of functional disability.

According to the World Food Programme (WFP), food insecurity in recent times has become increasingly prevalent in Zimbabwe, largely due to the country’s macro-economic crisis, characterised by high levels of inflation and rising food costs.

The Covid-19 pandemic has compounded these existing challenges, as restrictive measures imposed to curb the spread of the coronavirus have resulted in the widespread and prolonged loss of livelihoods and income.

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