FINANCE and National Planning Minister Dr Situmbeko Musokotwane says as promised, government is committed to reducing the cost of living, which is why inflation continues to drop.
In an interview, Dr Musokotwane said the upward adjustment of fuel prices would not derail government’s plan to have a single digit inflation by the end of the year.
“Government is very much committed to ensuring the cost of living is lowered and this is why as we promised, because we measure the cost of living by inflation and this is why you see inflation coming down because of commitment. Before we took over every month inflation was going up, now every month inflation is going down, that is the commitment that we made and we are honouring it,” Dr Musokotwane said.
“You also asked a question as to whether the increase in the price of fuel is going to derail the plan to get the inflation to single digit by the end of the year, and my answer is that it will not. Remember even the time when the price of fuel went up the first time, remember stories sprung everywhere that now inflation is going to go up, prices will be escalating, but you have seen for yourself every month inflation is coming down. In August when we took over last year, the rate of inflation was almost 24 percent, now the rate of inflation is at 13 percent.”
He said while fuel prices had gone up, prices of other commodities were on a downward trajectory.
“So inflation is coming down inspite of the price of fuel, what is the reason? I told you last time that when you measure price increment, we don’t just measure one item like fuel, we measure the price of all the commodities that a typical shopper will put in their basket, when they are buying groceries. So some go up like fuel, but some slow down or even go downwards. So that is why this inflation is coming down because though fuel went up, other items did not go up. So that trend is going to continue, by the end of December, the rate of inflation will be less than 10 percent. That I can assure you, less than 10 percent,” Dr Musokotwane said.
When asked whether the UPND’s economic recovery plan was on course despite the increase in fuel prices, he said the plan was on course.
“Yes, the plan is definitely there, first of all remember at the time we were talking, people were saying there is no plan. As we speak right now, the Cabinet approved the economic plan last week or rather the development plan last week, so Cabinet did approve last week. At the same time when they posted a copy of the plan to Parliament for members of parliament to go through because they are stakeholders. This is a plan that involves everyone starting from wards going all the way to the constituency, districts, provinces and everywhere. So the plan is in place,” said Dr Musokotwane.