Stories about people feeding a family one minimum wage have become commonplace. Do you live like citizens or survivors? Basic food prices are rising. Are wage growth following them?
Samir Mujezinovic has been working as a welder for years. He would go, he tells BHRT, outside the BiH border. But how to leave an unemployed wife and two children? Samir’s family has not even resolved the housing issue. In addition to all the necessities of life, she also spends money a month on rent.
“I can’t pay everything, I can’t afford something for the children …”
The consumer basket in BiH is obviously a luxury that amounts to more than 2,500 BAM. So, if you receive a minimum salary of some 400 to 500 marks – you will hardly put much in this basket. Oil is more expensive. Chicken, cereals, flour. So, basically. And from the autumn we expect a new rise in prices. But not the salary.
“If two people in a family work at the lowest price of labor in Republika Srpska, then we have this one difference that cannot catch up with the consumer basket and then there are deviations in the consumer basket itself. The cultural aspects in it suffer the most, as well as the reduction of some other pleasures at the expense of basic foodstuffs and overhead costs “, says Dusan Srdic, president of the Association for Consumers.
State institutions in Bosnia and Herzegovina are blocked by those who receive a salary even when they do not work. These are salaries that are up to three times higher than the average. Between their blockades and the political struggle for, as they say, the people, we remind them how the citizens of this country really live, or more precisely survive – both the constituent and the rest.
You can live with the average salary in BiH for only half a month. If we take into account that the majority of the population works for the minimum, then you can only cover a third of that month with that salary.
We checked what citizens can afford from the contents of the consumer basket with income they have:
These are mostly basic foodstuffs.
“Absolutely nothing! I have a 400 BAM pension. While I pay 200 BAM for utilities, that’s what I have left. I take the cheapest one.”
“We can live on our personal income for 15 days, no more.”
“We can’t afford what we need: to get some rest and relax. We are constantly under stress.”
The price of the consumer basket is rising from month to month. Citizens spend most of their salaries on food. Add to that the cost of housing. On average, citizens set aside around 400 BAM just for rent in the Sarajevo Canton. If you have children going to school, you only have to set aside more than 100 BAM for books per year. And there are other costs.
“A significant part of the income goes to food, which is a feature of a lower standard of living. A small portion of income can be used to meet some other living needs. A large part of the population is making ends meet and that is the reason why we have a high level of non-purpose consumer loans,” points out economic analyst Admir Cavalic.
Only a small number of citizens can afford an average holiday, car or some other luxury.
“Exactly these 50% of citizens have significant problems with life in BiH and this part of the population goes abroad. All economic research indicates two reasons why people go abroad: the first refers to the status, ie, whether a person is employed or unemployed, and the second refers to the amount of salary,” says Cavalic.
According to the data of the Agency for Statistics of BiH, the price of oil has risen the most so far: from 2.20 BAM to 3.80 BAM. We have also witnessed the increase in the price of meat by as much as 2-4 marks more per kilogram. And autumn brings new increases in the price of chicken, cereals and bread.