Cost of living rises, hits Orange Walk the hardest
Friday, October 19, 2012, 14:28
Belize City, October 15, 2012
The Government-sponsored Statistical Institute of Belize has confirmed what Belizeans already know: that the cost of living continues on a steep, upward trend.
The economic depression currently affecting the country has dealt a severe blow to Belizeans who have had to struggle daily to afford the basic food supplies to feed their families. Whoever invented the phrase “stretch your dollar” must have been playing a sick joke on Belizeans who have had to do much stretching with fast increasing prices and wages that have not been adjusted in over four years. But recently, there is no more room to stretch.
The Barrow Administration, who was elected on a mandate to reduce the cost of living, has turned a blind eye to the problem of the high cost of living. Like the ostrich that hides its head in the sand, they have ignored cries for relief in food prices.
SIB’s data on the rising cost of goods throughout the first eight months of 2012 indicates that inflation stood at an average of 1.7%. The factors that affected the inflation rate were increased prices in Food and Non- Alcoholic Beverages, Health, Recreation and Culture, and Miscellaneous Goods and Services.
Health saw the largest increase as hospital accommodation fees and surgery costs increased by 6.8% over the period.
The increases in Food prices were due mainly to higher cost of meat, and milk and cheese, which both hiked by 1.8% respectively.
SIB’s data contained specific information of how communities were affected by the spike in cost of living. It pointed out that the Orange Walk District faced the highest inflation with increases in the prices of Food and Non-Alcoholic Beverages, Health and Recreation and Culture.
Overall, Recreation and Culture, which speaks to the cost of admission to nightclubs, increased by 29.8%.
The SIB statistics indicate that prices in Furnishing, Household Equipment and Routine Household Maintenance, Transport, Education and Restaurants and Hotels decreased.
In comparison with the same period in the previous year, the Consumer Price Index increased from 101.2 to 101.8.
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