At the end of last year, we were hit by a wave of rising staple food prices. First, flour, coffee, oil and petroleum products have become more expensive. Prices of goods and services in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH), which are used for personal consumption, as measured by the Consumer Price Index in April alone, increased by 2.4% on average compared to the previous month . The consumption basket for a family of four was nearly BAM 2,500, while the average wage was almost twice as low. How to survive?
We often say that the citizens of BiH are true survival magicians. First the pandemic and now the crisis caused by the war in Ukraine has affected all aspects of life. The union consumption basket calculated by the Confederation of Independent Trade Unions of BiH for April 2022 amounts to BAM 2,493.84 and is BAM 73.88 more expensive than the union consumption basket last month. The average salary paid in the Federation of BiH (FBiH) for February 2022 was BAM 1,046.00, which is also the latest data released by the Federal Bureau of Statistics. The coverage of the trade union consumption basket with the average wage is 41.94%.
When drawing up the Union consumption basket, the average salary paid in the FBiH was taken into account, as well as the minimum cost of living for a family of four consisting of two adults and two children , one of whom is in high school and the other in elementary school.
In just three years, we have found ourselves in two global crises. They have had a negative effect on the global chains of production, supply and trade, which is reflected in the lives of ordinary citizens through the rising prices of basic foodstuffs, medicines, building materials, but also of almost all other services. Unlike at the beginning of the pandemic, when a large number of workers lost their jobs, the situation has partially improved. But there is still a big gap between the employed and the unemployed. In March this year, the number of unemployed in BiH was 371,000. Compared to March last year, this is about 8.5% less. The highest number of unemployed is at high education and qualified worker (KV) qualifications – over 118,000, followed by people with secondary education and people unqualified with over 100,000. The others are semi-skilled and graduates of higher education. It is also worrying that almost 60% of the unemployed are women.
In the same month of this year, the number of employees was just over 841,000. Compared to February this year, the number of employed persons increased by 0.2% and the number of employed women by 0.5%. Most employees were in manufacturing, a total of 170,058, and in wholesale and retail trade; repair of motor vehicles and motorcycles. The lowest number of employees in March this year was in the real estate sector – only 3,266, according to the Statistical Agency of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
In recent months, consumers have been exposed not only to rising prices for almost all products, but also to a number of other factors such as quality, missed margins and, notice of many, too few penalties. And the media have largely contributed to the panic of the citizens. Panic buying of fuel and flour led to shortages in stores. Given everything the data presented, we recommend that citizens continue to be magicians. Of course, politicians are also citizens of BiH, but they only need a magic wand for their personal interests, writes Federalna.