MASERU — The just ended festive season was not so rosy for cash -strapped consumers given the rise in the cost of goods and services over the course of the past year.
According to Consumer Price Index (CPI) reports by the Lesotho Bureau of Statistics, the cost of food and other grocery items, clothing and utilities saw an increase on both month-on-month and annual basis.
The CPI is a broad indicator used by the Lesotho Bureau of Statistics to track changes in the cost of goods and services over a certain period.
The November 2013 CPI report shows large monthly increases in the prices of breakfast cereals, rice, milk products, tomatoes and potatoes, blankets, children’s footwear and funeral services.
The cost of passenger road transport also went up slightly by one percent in the same month while motorists have consistently had to pay more for petrol and diesel.
The latest fuel price adjustments have left motorists in the lowlands paying M12.15 for a litre of petrol and M13.10 per litre for diesel.
Fuel prices in the highlands range from M12.21 to M12.33 per litre of petrol and from M13.16 to M13.28 per litre of diesel. Rising costs of living, coupled with low household income have led to most households reducing spending on non-essential items and luxury goods.
Between November 2012 and November 2013, the report shows a significant increase in the cost of electricity, gas and other sources of energy. Consumers experienced a whopping 16 percent rise in the price indices of the above commodities in 2013, a very sharp rise compared to the seven percent increase recorded in 2012.
Food prices went up by 3.5 percent during the period November 2012 to November 2013, while clothing went up by 2.2 percentin the same period.
The cost of educating a child has increasingly become more expensive, with figures showing a steep 13 percent increase in 2013.
The government provides free education at primary level through the Free Primary Education Programme and provides bursary loans for tertiary level schooling through the National Manpower Development Secretariat.
However, the burden of educating a child at secondary and post-secondary level still rests largely on households.