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Zimbabwe Inflation Sets New Record At 1,281%, Led By School Fees

Zimbabwe’s annual inflation has surged to a new record high of 1,281% in December from 1,098% the month before. But economists warned it could go even higher in February due to the latest round of increases in basic commodity prices.

Finance minister Herbert Murerwa has predicted a decline in the inflation rate to less than 4,00% by the end of this year. But the IMF has warned that inflation could hit 4,000% this year if Harare doesn’t radically change its economic course.

Director Godfrey Kanyenze of the Labor and Economic Development research institute said it is clear inflation remains on an upward course.

Independent economist John Robertson told VOA’s Studio 7 reporter Blessing Zulu that the latest surge comes as no surprise given recent price increases.

Meanwhile the Consumer Council of Zimbabwe announced Tuesday that the cost of living for an urban family of six rose 43% in the past month, led by school fees, which rose 262%. Such a family needs Z$362, 000 a month to make ends meet, it said.

Consumer Council Chief Executive Rosemary Siyachitema cited big rises in education, bread, sugar, cooking oil and clothing, calling for the urgent establishment of the proposed national incomes and pricing commission.

But Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions president Lovemore Matombo said the real problem is that Harare's economic turnaround programs have utterly failed.

More reports from VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe...