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Cost of living in Guyana is rising which is making it even more difficult for the ordinary man to get by. Essential commodities, such as milk and meat, have increased by more than 20 percent within the past months. Going to the market is proving a headache for shoppers, particularly homemakers who on a limited budget are still expected to provide basic food/nourishment for the families.
With schools haven’t fully reopened it is also putting a financial strain on families having to satisfy the munching needs of their children. It is different when children are at home all day, seven days a week, as against being in school for five days. The average family could attest to having to spend more as would be done during the school holidays when children are at home. Parents are digging deeper into their pockets or savings to provide additional snacks.
Whilst the government said it has removed Value Added Tax (VAT) on some commodities prices for some, if not many, of these commodities have not seen adjustments. The financial burden is being passed on by sellers who have found reasons to justify keeping their prices as there were during VAT.
Life is hard for the ordinary man. Where persons are living on fixed income, and for some a small income, when prices continue to rise that income becomes harder to stretch in making ends meet. The itinerant or small vendors also face the same dilemma. It is worse for those that are unemployed or have no reliable, steady income. Times are getting hard and the government cannot ignore the economic headaches of the ordinary people.
In addition to putting food on the table people have to pay utilities bills, particularly water, electricity and telephone, which are associated with normal living and in modern society seen as necessities. Those who rely on public transportation it is another headache having to find that passage money every day. Even those who drive they still have to face the fuel pump and ensure maintenance of their vehicles. People are finding it difficult to keep up.
The reality is, increasing cost of living forces people to make hard and difficult choices. Sometimes these choices include sacrificing a meal, ignoring buying food items essential to healthy living, or eating more of one food group because it may be more affordable than the other food groups. All five food groups-vegetables and fruits, carbohydrates or starch, protein, fat and dairy-are essential to a balanced diet. A balanced diet is important for the nourishment of the body. Poor nutrition results in all kinds of diseases and specifically for children their ability to learn and properly function.
Cost of living is a national issue which governments have to address. They do so in many ways such as providing some form of alleviation to the vulnerable, incentives to business to influence reduction in prices, or better policing to ensure VAT cost is not being unscrupulously passed on to consumers. The government cannot ignore it is becoming increasingly difficult for ordinary Guyanese to make ends meet.
Government should also know when people are suffering and see politicians splurging it creates animosity between the governed and the governing. After all, it is the taxes of the people that are funding the business of the state. When people are struggling to make ends meet they would like to see government officials containing themselves or scaling back extravagance.