The cost of living in Bangladesh has increased by 82.59 per cent over the last five years from, according to Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics (BBS). In relation, the income has increased by 59.38 per cent over the same period showing an unusual disparity between income and expenditure.
This disparity has made the fixed income group’s living extremely unmanageable, experts opined.
According to the Household Incomeand Expenditure Survey- 2010 of Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics (BBS), the costof living in 2010 (national level) wasestimated at Tk 11,200 which was Tk 6,134 in 2005, showing an increase of 82.59per cent expenditure.
Contrarily, the average monthlyincome (national level) in 2010 was estimated at Tk 11,480 which was Tk 7,203 in2005 that shows an income growth of 59.38 percent.
However, in rural and urbanlevels, the average monthly expenditure was estimated at Tk 9,612 and Tk 15,531respectively in 2010.
The price hike of essentials,lack of efficient market policy and high inflation rate have pushed up theliving expenditure, experts further opined.
The recent hike in fuel pricewill further strike the middle and lower income groups of people hard, theysaid, adding that increasing trend of inflation this year foretell that thecost of living would be strikingly high.
On point to point basis, theinflation rate during last August was 11.29 per cent which was 10.17 in Junethis year.
According to market study reportof Consumers’ Association of Bangladesh (CAB), the prices of rice haveincreased 21.13 per cent, prices of edible oil 7.95 per cent, prices of fishes18.65 per cent, prices of spices 41.24 per cent, and prices of sugar increased35.77 per cent in 2010 than those of previous year.
In addition, the house rentincreased 5.99 per cent, water and electric prices 4.97 and 6.48 percentrespectively in 2010.
In comparison to 2009, the livingcost in 2010 have increased 16.10 per cent, said the CAB report, adding that ithas been increasing around 12 per cent per year since last couple of years.
Compared to 2010, prices of ricehave increased 12.05 per cent, edible oil 34 per cent, onion 23 per cent andsugar 26 percent in 2011, reveals the Trading Corporation of Bangladesh (TCB).
Meanwhile, according to a reportpublished by Oxfam, an international NGO, the prices of imported essentialshave increased 10 to 25 per cent more than the price increased in internationalmarket. As a result, about 70 per cent earning of the people are being spent onconsumption purposes, it noted.
Professor Dr Mostafizur Rahman,executive director of the Centre for Policy Dialogue (CDP), has termed the high inflation rate as the main cause behind the increase of cost of living. He said the sufferings of the fixed-income people have multiplied since they have tomanage their expenses with the limited income.
According to the present situation, people have to depend on their savings to manage expenses. If their income does not increase in concurrence with expenses, the situation would be more adverse, he added.
“The recent fuel price hike will push inflation rate to rise. If government does not invest the money accrued from the subsidy given in energy sector, people’s life would be further miserable,” said Prof. Mostafiz.
Meanwhile, experts predict thatliving expenditure have increased alarmingly in 2011 since prices of almost allessentials increased steeply this year. The transportation fare has alsoincreased several times in a single year ensued by increase in fuel price.
They also predict that thenational saving would be adversely hampered due to the huge gap between theincome and expenditure.
According to the Bangladesh Economic Review (2011), the national savings in 2009-10 fiscal was 30.02 percentof GDP while during the FY 2010-11, the savings reduced to 28.40 percent of GDP.
-With The New Nation input