Transport costs raise inflation

Saturday August 3 2019

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The overall rise in food prices is currently exerting additional pressure on low income earners. PHOTO | FILE 

ARAFAT MUGABO
By ARAFAT MUGABO
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The increase in prices of some goods, food and transport has led to an increase in headline inflation from 0.8 per cent to 1.6 per cent.

The National Institute of Statistics of Rwanda said the increase was largely attributed to the annual increase of transport by 3.2 per cent compared with 2.6 per cent for the year ended May 2018. However, the increase is still below the Central Bank target of 5.82 per cent.

“In June, food, non-alcoholic beverages, imported goods and transport rose by 0.5 per cent, 2.2 per cent, 0.8 per cent and 0.6 respectively,” said the National Institute of Statistic of Rwanda report.

In June last year, prices for restaurants and hotels rose to two per cent from 1.7 per cent, furnishings to 3.6 per cent from 3.4 per cent and prices for housing and utilities remained unchanged at 1.4 per cent.

Among the basic foods whose prices have shot up since February, are maize flour, banana, potatoes, rice, tomatoes, beans, cooking oil, soap, vegetables, and milk.

Rwanda Today compared the prices of basic goods in markets in Kigali City and found that a kilo of Irish potatoes is selling at between Rwf300 and Rwf350.

“The price of a kilo of Irish potatoes has increased from below Rwf200 and 250 in January,” said Dancila Mukashaka, a retail trader in Kigali.

According to Ms Mukashaka, the cost of tomatoes has also gone up from Rwf100 for three tomatoes to Rwf100 per tomato at the beginning of this year, bananas also from Rwf200 to Rwf300, maize flour from Rwf450 to Rwf600.

“At first we thought the prices would reduce as they become available at the market, but instead they have continued to increase with some becoming scarce at the market,” said Ms Mukashaka.

In a phone interview with the director-general of the National Institute of Statistics of Rwanda Yusuf Murangwa, he said the inflation rate has not reached the average rate set by the central bank of 5.82 per cent.

“We are aware of the increase but the increase is slight,” he said. “Only a few commodities have increased in price such as fuel and some imported fresh goods,” added Mr Murangwa.

The prices of staple foods remain high and have not eased significantly with the first harvest, but they are expected to fall in the coming months due to the expected rains in early October.

The prices of these staple foods should reduce as the country imports goods from Tanzania.

“We are certain that the prices of these commodities will have stabilised by the end of August,” said Mr Murangwa.

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