Year of the price-hikes

As in most southern African countries, Namibia is consumed with talk about the oncoming FIFA World Cup. In Namibia the world cup is overshadowed only by one other discussion; the electricity hike. Initially NAMPOWER, the Namibian state power utility, intended to increase the electricity charges by a whopping 35%. This, of course, was challenged by the public and NAMPOWER has agreed to rethink the hike. Even if they come down from the initial 35% the hike will still affect our budgets. And when it comes to money, everyone is concerned. For one fleeting moment all Namibians are united as they unanimously disagree with the power utility’s intended hike.
Home-owners and in extension those of us who rent from them will feel the pinch when the electricity bill comes at the end of the month. In these tough economic times this should affect the housing market. The costs of general goods will also go up soon. Shop-owners will spend more on refrigeration and therefore goods such as a diary, poultry and meat could go up.
And it is not only electricity which is rising but in recent months other hikes have tightened the pockets. Only yesterday (18 May 2010) petrol prices went up and today the talk is that maize meal, the most basic meal for many families, is also going to cost us more(http://www.namibian.com.na/news/full-story/archive/2010/may/article/maize-meal-up-13/ ). The transport sector has already readjusted fares to cope with the last petrol hike. It was only 2 months ago that the taxi fares went up by N$ 1.50. At the moment it is not a matter of whether the prices of electricity will go up, just a matter of when and, more importantly, by how much. No wonder a friend of mine already dubbed 2010 as the ‘year of the price-hikes’.
Yes, I know my first blog was a more of a rant, but there will be good news soon…watch this space.

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