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Low, middle income earners puzzled to bear family cost

Soaring cost of essential commodities

08 August 2022

Al Amin :
The country's low and middle income earners are puzzled to meet their family expenditures due to the increased prices of the essential commodities caused by rise in fuel price.
They said that the cost of living is shooting up drastically but income is not increasing. Even in some cases, the income has been less in couple of years due to the Covid-19 pandemic.   
According to Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics (BBS) data, the wage growth in Bangladesh declined to a seven-year low of 6.06 per cent in the last fiscal year, highlighting the struggling low-paid workers' fighting for survival owing to the higher cost of living.
The growth rate in 2021-22 is six basis points lower than the previous fiscal year, according to the Wage Rate Index (WRI) of the BBS.
In an encouraging sign, however, the wage growth rose in the first month of the current fiscal year.
The increase stood at 6.56 per cent, up from 6.47 per cent in June and the highest in seven months, data from the BBS showed recently.
Mostaq Ahmed works at private firm in Motijhel area. He is lone earning person of his four-member family and he gets monthly salary worth Tk 18,000. Of the amount, he spent Tk 8,000 as house rent and the rest is spent for other family expenditures including transport and educational costs.
But new fuel price-hike has made him puzzled as the prices of most of the commodities have gone up significantly.
"Transport fare, prices of all food items and daily necessities have increased but income does not increase proportionately. Now, it has become impossible to survive in Dhaka," Mustaq said.
"A large portion of the salary goes for house rent. It is difficult to maintain the family with the remaining money. I can't pay for my children's education. It is not possible to buy food or clothes as per my own choice. I have to borrow before ending month. The price hike will be more difficult for us," he added.
Like Mustaq, thousands of low and middle income people of the country are now suffering from the high inflation pressure.  The government has increased the prices of all the refined fuel oil products by 42.5 to 52 percent on Friday.
Along with this, the cost of living has also increased several times. In this situation, people with low and middle income have fallen into hardship to meet the cost of living.
AB Mirza Azizul Islam, economist and former Advisor to the caretaker government, has expressed the fear that people's suffering will increase due to the increase in oil prices.
"The unusual fuel price hike will impact all the sectors.  The transport sector will be affected severely. Production cost will increase several times as all sectors are related to the transport sector. The country's inflation, which is already high, will increase further," he said.
"Rise in fuel prices will make the commodity prices even more unaffordable. The low and middle class people will be bewildered. If the purchasing power decreases, people can no longer live well," he said.

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