Zimbabweans living in poverty
THE Zimbabwe Statistical Office (Zimstats) said the National Food Poverty Line for March as measured stood at US$34,84 per person, an increase of 1 percent from US$34,5. This means an average person in Zimbabwe survives on US$1,16 per day. The World Bank defines poverty in absolute terms and extreme poverty as living on less than US$1,25 per day, and moderate poverty as less than US$2 a day. The poverty line is the threshold below which families or individuals are considered to be lacking the resources to meet the basic needs for healthy living; in other words, having insufficient income to provide the food, shelter and clothing needed to preserve health. Most Zimbabweans live below this line.
An average Zimbabwean is earning about US$8.50 daily and spending around US$12.25 daily on a similar particular corresponding period. Amongst the overbearing everyday demands include transport fares, airtime, 2 loaves of bread, 1kg of meat, impulse commodities [which include entertainment discs, church alms], fresh milk.
The figures are astounding. With about 85% of the population unemployed, the majority of these are employed by the government. The government was spending 70% of all tax revenue on civil servant salaries before elections. With the economy dipping the government may be faced with a situation where 100% of revenue on civil servant salaries. This will leave the government with no finance to run the country. Former education Minister David Coltart stated that in the last school term his ministry had US$20 000 to run the ministry. There is very little money to run the government. The situation is getting worse with the stock market crashing and investors running.
The active sectors in the economy are retail, farming and mining, but these sectors are not operating in a sustainable manner. Before the land distribution, the country had 2000 farmers and today there are 80 000 subsistence farmers who are all growing a few hectares of tobacco. This has great implications for our environment, deforestation is taking place at a very rapid pace and this will adversely affect future tobacco farming. Although 80 000 people have been somewhat empowered, the rest of the population languishes in poverty.
The future looks bleak for Zimbabwe and unless the next government can pull a rabbit from a hat, there is going to be great anguish for the normal person. Many people have been predicting the return of the 2008 economic situation. The cost of living continues to increase and life continues to get tougher and tougher for the man on the ground.