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Monday, January 1, 2018 11:05:09 PM
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New Year not having enough for people to hope

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ECONOMISTS' have warned the year- 2018 will be a tough year to city dwellers for they will have to pay the largest part of their monthly income as house rent without credible control over house rent. Quoting a survey reports conducted by BRAC University in the city, they said about 82 percent tenants pay more than one-thirds of their monthly income for house rent and utility bills, exceeding the standard affordable limit at 30 percent. Of them, 44 percent pay half of their income slashing spending for health and education and so on. 

Another warning also needs serious attention. They believe the year would be suffocating to common people for higher cost of food which may further rise this year along with growing food inflation now at 6 percent. Rice now sells between Tk 45 and Tk 70 per kg and onion at Tk 120 per kg that never had happened before.

The UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and US Department of Agriculture suggests food production -- mainly rice production -- will be lower this year in keeping with last year's trend, although the government claim of continued success.

It appears higher house rent and food cost may throw the biggest challenge to mid-to-low-income families along with growing safety concerns of people from poor law and order situation. This remains the biggest threat to public life at a time when the entire country seemingly nose diving in all fronts-from crisis in the food market to growing public safety issues.

The government is firmly dug in to give protection to the regime. It is raising taxes and utility charges and spending it for its own protection without much care to give protection to citizens' life. Rape, extortion and abduction, extra-judicial killing and sexual harassment are on rise everyday sheltered by the government in most cases. The year is thus unfolding with manifold concerns when the government is busy within itself instead of unfolding policies and actions to ameliorating people's suffering. It is a year for the government to win election. 

Economists have also warned of growing income gap with the rich getting richer from ill-gotten money. It may invariably end up in creating socio-political tension in the election year. We know house rent and food price are two basic determinants to well being of an average family. Media report said over 5.2 lakh people have already fallen below poverty line later last year mainly due to higher food prices. Experts have also warned of political uncertainly in the run up to election when the economy may face many more risks and challenges. Capital flight may run all time high. 

Unrestraint food price and house rent remains the two biggest challenge to people. The government has no control over rice market and agricultural supplies as millers and established cartels belonging to ruling party are controlling the markets. House owners who come from the richer section of the society are also least compliant to house rent laws. They are not transparent while frequently raising house rents adding load to renters but depriving the government of due taxes. Lack of proper governance is hurting the nation all the more; it must change.

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