Published:  12:09 AM, 13 January 2019

Living cost rises to 6% in 2018

The cost of living in the country rose six percent in 2018. The price of commodities and services increased in price by 5.19 per cent. This was revealed in the study of Consumers Association of Bangladesh (CAB) released yesterday.

The study says: "In Bangladesh the consumers' have been paying the highest tariff in comparison to the other Southeast Asian countries."Golam Rahman, Chairman of CAB said that the report was conducted on the cost of living and not for the cost of education, cost of medicare facilities and transportations.

The study was released at Dhaka Reporters Unity in the city yesterday morning. The study was made after researching 114 food items from some 15 retail markets, 22 regularly used products and 14 service providers. The CAB chairman said, "The cost of living had increased by 8.44 per cent and the price of commodities and services had increased by 7.17 per cent in comparison to 2017."

The calculation of CAB in costing of the living was compared with the 'basket' of goods and services purchased by the consumers and comparing them to the total cost of family's basket according to weight.The CAB chairman, however, admitted that they could not cover the rural people due to manpower shortage although most of the people have been living in the rural areas of the country.

He also opined that the study would show a partial picture of the whole situation prevailing in the country of 2018. The CAB chairman asserted that the price of most of the necessities was increased in 2018.

The study said that soap price rose the most in 2018. The price of this essential product rose by 20%. Rice price rose to around 8.91 percent, fish 13.50 percent, vegetables 9.38 percent, betel leaves 7.18 per cent and milk 13.33 percent. Compared to 2017, the price of pulse, salt, spices and sugar fell in 2018.

The CAB study also said that the cost of edible oil, powdered milk, gas, electricity, fuel and rail fare was almost unchanged. Replying to a question, Golam Rahman said that the price hikes were reasonable, the impact of these prices were dependent on the individual behaviors of the consumers."We must focus on increasing income. If incomes increase in the line with the cost, then it will be fine" the CAB Chairman said.

Professor Shamsul Alam, CAB's Energy Adviser demanded reduction in the tariff rate. He said that the consumers of the country had paid Taka 1.14 trillion in import duties in 2018. "This tariff rate is much higher than neighboring countries," he added.

He pointed out that the tariff rate imposed in Bangladesh was 25.64 percent in 2017. On the other hand, the average tariff rate for South Asian countries for that year was 12.19 percent. Moreover, the average tariff rate in the Southeast Asia in 2016 was 4.74 percent.

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