Support Village Voice News With a Donation of Your Choice.
Minister of Finance Dr. Ashni Singh’s attempted clarification that 1.7 percent inflation earlier this year to projected 4.1 percent by year-end “simply means that prices would increase by 4.1 percent” is incredibly misleading and leaves citizens questioning exactly what is included in the ‘basket of goods and services’ used to calculate the inflation rate in Guyana. The government’s economics is not adding up to the people’s reality.
The minister’s attempted clarification ignored the significant increase in prices in the markets. The explanation is not only disrespectful and misleading to the average public but shows a disconnect with the average man and woman in society.
The fact remains that items are not price controlled and the prices for essential and other items have increased significantly. Every housewife, including those who can’t read and write, knows the cost of living has more than doubled. For example:-
ü A pound of sugar that last year cost $100 is now selling at $300
ü A $100 bundle of bora is now $300. The $200 bundle size was $100 last year and now only sufficient to sprinkle in chowmein not to make stew
ü 3 boulanger/eggplant/balanjay (bigan) are selling at $400 or $500
ü A bottle of cooking oil that sold last year for $1400 is now $4000
ü Last year a 20-pound bottle of cooking gas cost $3,500 but is now $4500
ü A bag of rice that previously sold for $1200 is now $2200
ü A loaf of bread that sold for $250 now sells at $400
ü A 50lb bag of flour that sold last year at $3800 is presently selling at $5000
ü 1lb celery is now $1500 from $200
ü 1lb eshallots now sells at $500 or $800 from $60 last year
ü Gas price has increased from last year and likewise the cost of transportation.
In the meanwhile, the salary for an entry level police constable is $88,000 average per month; a nurse $75,000 average per month; a teacher is $68,000 average per month; and public servant 73,000 per month average. All of these professions required professional training and/or at least 5 CXC at pass grades. The National Minimum Wage was increased from 1st July to $60,000 per month.
People’s reality is when they put their hands in their pockets they have to spend more to get less. A third year University of Guyana economics major said the public is being kerfuffle with intellectualism. The consumers know and have enough basic experience with market values to question the explanation given by the minister because his explanation does not add up to their everyday reality when they face market prices.
In other countries governments have implemented policies to cushion inflation and cost of living through supply side management and moving to drive down gas, auto and food prices. In Guyana, the People’s Progressive Party/Civic government is yet to model progressive societies and caring governments to manage the supply side of the economy and keep prices for essential and needed goods and services stable or within the reach of the average man.