Rwandans to dig deeper into pockets as inflation soars

Friday December 20 2019

food

The urban poor are likely to bare the brunt of high food prices. PHOTO | FILE  

MOSES K. GAHIGI
By MOSES K. GAHIGI
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Rwandans will have to brace themselves for tough times during the festive season after the country’s inflation increased by 6.9 per cent in November, up from 4.4 per cent in October.

Latest data from the National Institute of Statistics Rwanda indicated that food and non-alcoholic beverages increased by 16.2 per cent on an annual basis, with analysts saying the urban poor are likely to bare the brunt.

From the beginning of the year, food prices have been soaring as a result of Rwanda's decision to restrict trade and movement across the Burundian and Ugandan borders.

A kilogramme of beans, for example, now costs between Rwf800 and Rwf1200 in various markets, having risen from between Rwf550 and Rwf700.

Onions cost a record Rwf1,000 a kilogramme from between Rwf350 and Rwf6500 a couple of months ago. Spices like ginger cost Rwf2,000 a kilogramme from Rwf1200 two months ago, while tomatoes cost Rwf700 a kilogramme.

Local production

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The already bad situation has been worsened by recurrent floods, which have hampered local production of fresh foodstuffs, like beans, carrots, tomatoes, onions, and vegetables, which are grown in marshlands.

As a result, the prices of fresh products increased by 25.3 per cent from last year and increased by 6.7 per cent on a monthly basis.

The other goods whose prices have soared include clothing and footwear, which went up by 8.3 per cent compared with last year, while prices of alcoholic beverages, tobacco and narcotics increased by 17.2 percent.

Data also shows that prices of local goods increased by 7.5 per cent on annual change and increased by 2.3 per cent on a monthly basis, while prices of the imported products increased by 4.9 per cent.

The prices of the general index excluding fresh products and energy increased by 3.4 per cent on annual change and increased by 0.7 per cent on a monthly basis.

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