As Cost of Living Soars, Difficult Times Lie Ahead…
In reaction to the unprecedented rise in the cost of living that has eroded the purchasing power of millions of people living on or below the UN poverty of $2 a day, politics is no longer the answer to their problem, as their problem is how to earn more to meet their daily survival needs.
Towards this, sympathetic President Bio New Direction Government that promised the nation in 2018 to address the most fundamental existential need of the people – bread and butter – now finds itself between the rock and a hard place in fulfilling that promise as inflation, a falling Leone and ever rising market prices make fulfilling that promise look like chasing a mirage in the Sahara desert.
True to its commitment to addressing the needs of the people, the Government has since the Corona pandemic hit the world in 2020 being putting in place proactive economic controls and humanitarian packages to cushion the effects on the poor and vulnerable.
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Sadly, the result has been like trying to block a broken levee. In this latest effort to stem the flowing tide of inflation, the President last weekend announced 25 percent increase for pensioners and public sector workers. It also announced 30 % subsidy on fuel and food. Without wanting to dampen the Government’s effort, we know from recent past events that this too will not help reduce cost of living.
Wages harmonization was a step in the right direction to correct the gross inequality in wages between less than 1 percent of the work force and the vast majority that earn less than Le2M per month.
Thus, if you give 25 percent increase to someone earning above Le20M a month and one earning less than Le2M a month, you have made the former richer. Therefore what continues to fuel the growing hardship in this country is that huge percentage of national revenue goes towards wages and salaries of the privileged few and frivolous Government expenditure at a time when austerity should be the way out.
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Thus, as long as the Government continues to spend far more than it earns, there is no way that it can stem the tide of inflation which directly affects cost of living.