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Burundi inflation hits 24.5 pct, food prices up
BUJUMBURA, April 12 |
BUJUMBURA, April 12 (Reuters) - Burundi's year-on-year inflation rate rose to 24.5 percent in March from 22 percent a month before, partly due to high food prices, the country's statistics board said on Thursday, worsening a situation that has previously led to labour unrest.
The food index jumped 20.7 percent in the year to March, up from 16.5 percent in February, the Institute of Economic Studies and Statistics (ISTEEBU) said in its monthly report.
Last month, public sector workers and traders went on strike to protest against the high cost of living after the central African nation's government more than doubled water and electricity prices.
Early this month, unions and civil society organisations wrote to President Pierre Nkurunziza, threatening unspecified tough action if he did not cancel these new electricity and water charges.
But the government has said it will not reverse the move.
The state's sole utility has imposed since last September a 124 percent rise in charges for electricity and a 266 percent increase for water. The authorities said higher tariffs were needed to enable it to cope with growing demand.
Data from the statistics board showed costs for housing, water and energy rose 38.7 percent in March compared to 37.6 percent in February. (Reporting by Patrick Nduwimana; Editing by George Obulutsa and Stephen Nisbet)
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