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Cost of living up by 6pc in city

CAB recommends controlling essential products and utility services price

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13th-Jan-2019       
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Staff Reporter :
Living cost in Dhaka rose by 6.0 per cent in 2018 thanks to hike in commodity prices and increasing house rent and electricity, gas and water bills.
The rise was lower than in 2017 when the cost of living went up by 8.44 per cent.
The Consumers Association of Bangladesh (CAB) came up with the findings while releasing its annual report on cost of living in Dhaka.
The report was released through a press conference held at the Dhaka Reporters' Unity on Saturday.
"Food prices particularly rice soared at higher rate in 2018 than the previous year," said CAB President Ghulam Rahman while unveiling the report.
He said the cost of living rose 6.0 per cent in 2018. The cost of services and products rose by 5.19 per cent in the last year.
In 2017, the cost of living had increased 8.44 per cent and the price of commodities and services had increased 7.17 per cent.
CAB calculated this cost of living by comparing the 'basket' of goods and services purchased by consumers and comparing them to the total cost of the family's basket according to weight.
"Although most Bangladeshis lived in rural areas, the organisation did not have sufficient capacity to calculate their total cost of living.
However, this report will paint a partial picture of the situation in the city," Ghulam Rahman said.
According to the CAB report, the price of most necessities was largely stable in 2018. According to the CAB report, soap prices increased the most in 2018 as compared to the previous year by a whopping 20 per cent. Rice prices went up by an average of 8.91 per cent, fish 13.50 per cent, vegetables 9.38 per cent, betel leaves 7.18 per cent and milk 13.33 per cent.
Compared to 2017, the price of pulse, salt, spices and sugar fell in 2018. Local varieties of pulse fell 12.43 per cent, imported pulse fell 10.84 per cent, while chickpeas fell 3.37 per cent, local garlic fell 20.53 per cent and imported garlic fell 32.37 per cent.
The cost of edible oil, powdered milk, gas, electricity, fuel and rail fare was largely unchanged.
Asked whether the price hikes were reasonable, Rahman said that the impact of the price hike depended on the individual consumers. "If people's income did not increase in line with inflation it would cause problems," he said.
The CAB recommends the government to establish a Consumer Affairs Ministry, to procure rice directly from the farmers, to maintain prices stability in the rice market.
It also recommends the government to control other essential products' prices and limit the gas, electricity and water bills for the interest of the consumers.

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