The Consumer Council of Zimbabwe said Friday that the cost of essential food items needed by low-income families rose more than 7 percent in January.
CCZ Executive Director Rosemary Siyachitema told VOA that retailers have boosted prices in expectation of higher pay for state employees.
Siyachitema said the cost of the basket of essential food items which it tracks was estimated to have risen from US$136 in December to US$146 in January for a 7.3 percent increase in basic living costs.
Siyachitema noted "this expectation that at the beginning of the year civil servants will get their salary increases." Unions representing state workers are in negotiations with the government seeking higher salaries, and have threatened to strike if their demands are not met.
The Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions says a household of five needs an income of at least US$470 a month to make ends meet.