Making a Case for the Basic Needs Basket

The Labour Resource and Research Institute’s (LaRRI) various surveys show that many working people in Namibia live far beyond their means. They are unable to afford the basic food items, let alone essential non-food items such as water and electricity. The Namibia Consumer Price Index Bulletin, published by the Namibia Statistics Agency shows that the food and non-alcoholic index stood at 110,8 during the month of April, whilst in March it was 110,1. This shows an increase of .07 in one month only.

It is for this reason that the Labour Resource and Research Institute has decided to assess the cost of basic food and non-food items on a regular basis through market and residential surveys with effect from June 2014.

The Basic Needs Basket survey will be conducted on a monthly basis. The survey will provide data on the prices of basic food and non food items. It is expected for the outcome to inform measures to improve the income of workers and social protection programmes in line with the cost of basic goods and services. LaRRI envisages that trade unions will use the outcomes of the survey to lobby and aocate for better wages for their members. Similarly, the survey outcome will inform policy formulation and social protection programmes in line with the cost of living.

A high level workshop, which will draw participants from various government ministries and academia, will take place in Windhoek on 9 and 10 June at Thuringerhof hotel in Windhoek to deliberate on the relevance of such a basic need basket as a realistic tool to measure incomes versus the real cost of basic food and non-food items.

A pilot survey will commence immediately after the workshop in July.

Source : The Namibian