POST TIME: 13 January, 2019 00:00 00 AM
Dhaka living costs up 6pc in 2018

Dhaka living costs up 6pc in 2018

The cost of living in Dhaka has risen by six per cent in 2018, a study by the Consumer Association of Bangladesh (CAB) reported. The report noted that in 2017, the amount was 8.44 per cent. This means that there was a 2.44 percentage-point decrease in the rate at which the cost of living is rising.

The CAB released its report yesterday (Saturday) during a press briefing at Dhaka Reporter’s Unity (DRU). CAB president Ghulam Rahman briefed journalists about its latest study. The private organisation did not take into account the cost of education, medical care and/or transport while preparing the report. According to the CAB report, the cost of services and products rose by 5.19 per cent. In 2017, this was 7.17 per cent.

The CAB prepared the report by collecting data on prices of 114 food items and 22 products of daily use from 15 markets in Dhaka. It also took into account the cost of 14 services, including gas, electricity and water, to prepare the report.

The organisation calculated this cost of living by comparing the ‘basket’ of goods and services purchased by consumers with the total cost of the family’s basket in accordance with weights.

The CAB report said in 2018, the prices of most essentials, including rice, were steady. The prices of gas, electricity and fuel oil also had not risen, and bus and rail fares had remained the same all through the year. The prices of cooking oil and milk powder were also steady throughout the year.

When the data is compared with that of December 2017, the prices of different essentials in December 2018 had actually declined a bit. The prices of rice fell by 15 per cent, lentil by 17 per cent, oil by 2 per cent, spices by 22.5 per cent, vegetables by 11 per cent and sugar by 11 per cent.

But the prices of fish had increased by 13.50 per cent, tea by 8.89 per cent, chicken by 2.79 per cent and eggs by 7.71 per cent. Soap prices rose the most in 2018 when compared to the previous year by a whopping 20 per cent. Water supplied by the Water Supply and Sewerage Authority (WASA) had risen by 5 per cent for every thousand litres. The rent

of a two-room house also rose by 5.5 per cent.

CAB president Ghulam Rahman placed some recommendations at the press conference. He recommended establishing a consumers affairs ministry that would identify 12 to 15 essentials and take every possible measure to keep their prices steady throughout the year.

Rahman also asked the government to purchase agricultural produce directly from the farmers during the season which, he believes, would help keep the prices of the agricultural produce steady through the year.

The CAB president recommended establishing a price stabilisation fund to keep the prices of fuel oil steady. To keep health services within the reach of the common people, he wanted doctor’s fees and costs of diagnostic tests to be regulated.

Rahman recommended establishing an independent commission like the Bangladesh Energy Regulatory Commission (BERC) for the transport sector to curb the unruly increases in bus and public transport fares.