By Odhiambo Ocholla
The squeeze on cash-strapped households is not easing any time soon despite successive drop of inflation from a high of 20 per cent recorded last year.
What makes this latest inflation figures irrelevant to the common man on the street is that the price of food â sukuma wiki, milk, potatoes, onions and tomatoes â which constitute 90 per cent of their householdâs budget rose by 2.4 per cent.
In fact consumers are much worse compared to the same period last year, as statistics indicates that food prices have increased by 20.3 per cent last month.
During the past year, most essential bills have ballooned. Despite the small fall in the inflation rate, there is little respite for hard-pressed families.
The problem is compounded by wages, which still lag behind cost of living as families still face âsevere pressureâ. Yes inflation fell last month but millions of families are still under severe pressure as pay rises remain below the increasing cost of living.
The pressure on families struggling to make ends meet has not eased off because while the inflation rate may be falling, the average pay for workers is also dropping as increase in wages is not commensurate with inflation increase.
At this level, the average workerâs pay hike, with many not getting one at all is less than half the increase in the cost of living. It is clear that household finances remain under severe pressure.
To make matters worse, many workers, particularly in the public sector, are being hit by a pay freeze, which means they canât cushion rising household bills.