People with low and middle incomes reduce their food expenditure

A private company employee, Hedayetul Islam, swallowed a piece of bread and a banana in the Paltan area on Thursday. But it was lunchtime, which was a fairly hearty bangalee meal consisting of a plate of white rice, fish curry and lentils.

Hedayetul said he started skipping lunch – which now costs at least Tk 100 – to save money for other basic needs for his family.

“The rent for the house went up by Tk 500 in January this year. The rickshaws now charge Tk 60 which used to be Tk 40 to pick up and drop off my son from school. The transport to the office has also become more expensive,” he said.

But what has remained the same over the past year is Hedayetul’s income, forcing the household to revise its spending.

The private employee said he used to buy beef once a week, which is now completely prohibited. He had also stopped buying 1 kilogram of powdered milk a month, discontinued private tutoring for his son, and stopped seeing doctors for minor health issues.

“Even after all the cost cuts, I have to borrow at the end of almost every month,” Hedayetul said.

Anawar Hossain works in a real estate company and lives with his wife in the low-income Demra district of Dhaka.

He said the two-member family needed Tk26,300 in August for a bag of rice, five liters of oil, fish, vegetables, a medical bill, essential cosmetics, utility bills and the rent of an apartment. But Anwar’s salary hovers around 22,500.

“Even if I don’t buy meat, milk and fruits, the gap between income and expenses will be more than 4,000 Tk and it is growing every month. Until a few months ago, we could save 2 000 to 3000 Tk per month.”

“But now it has become impossible to survive like this,” Anawar said.

Like Hedayetul and Anwar, around 3.5 million people in the low and middle income bracket have serious problems keeping up with the rapid pace of commodity price increases. The latest record jump in fuel prices has added to the suffering, forcing many to see their loans increase every month.

Take for example the case of Mymensingh school teacher, Md Abdul Malek Showrab, who rides his bicycle to attend classes about 45 kilometers from his residence.

“I got a pay rise of Tk885 in July but fuel bills have gone up by over Tk1000 in the current month. Also the prices of all the essentials have skyrocketed. We had already removed meat and fruit from the menu and suspended other non-essential expenses such as new clothes and cosmetics.Even then, my debt is increasing every month,” the teacher said.

Abu Bakar, a first private employee in the capital Moghbazar, said his monthly expenses increased from Tk 3,000 to 3,500 a few months ago. But the rise in fuel prices pushed it up to 4,500 Tk.

Small civil servants also in difficulty

In a Facebook post, a cop described the struggle of civil servants in the 10-20 grade on the national salary scale.

Mentioning that a 20th year employee earns a monthly salary of Tk 8,250, he said the amount is quickly running out just to buy rice and vegetables in this volatile market.

“… No one will understand how helpless employees with a monthly salary of Tk 8,250 are in this market. About 80% of my friends and colleagues borrow to meet household expenses. “, he wrote. .

“We can’t agitate against salary discrimination from grades 11 to 20. And our problems go unnoticed. Big bosses are paid up to 8 times more, so they don’t think of us,” the cop said in the social media post.

‘The last meat eaten on Eid’

In search of sustenance, rickshaw puller Zahirul Haque came to Dhaka from Mymensingh in 2007. The 42-year-old said he was not receiving as many passengers as before, while his stay in Dhaka has become more expensive.

Zahirul’s daily income was up to 700 Tk, but now it is only 400-500 Tk. As he has to pay more for mess rent and food, the rickshaw puller said he struggled to send money to his family in the ancestral village.

“As people don’t have enough money in their pockets and all the items are more expensive, they don’t ride rickshaws except in an emergency,” Zahirul said.

Day laborer Md Farid has lived with his family in the Kalyanpur slum for about 25 years. Everyone except Farid Uddin’s daughter-in-law does odd jobs.

“We couldn’t buy chicken or beef after the last Eid in July. We used to eat eggs. But we also had to remove them from the menu. We have been eating vegetables and potatoes for a few days “, did he declare.