Welcome to the inflated country, of course an inflated world! Purchasing power of Bhutanese ngultrum has gone down by 32% in the last 7 years, according to National Statistical Bureau. The prices of food items have gone up 6.9% compared to last year.
A bundle (chag-pa) of sag costs Nu. 20 today in Phuentsholing, up by 50%, while a kilogram of potatoes will cost you anywhere between Nu.25-30 and tomatoes are priced 50-60% higher. And the prices of other food items have also increased manifold. LPG and fuel prices have gone up. It is more expensive to get a ride in taxis or buses. Cars cost you more with the revised tax policy. With increase in fuel prices, it is more expensive to drive personal cars too. Soon, electricity will cost us more. We will pay more for water, sewerage and garbage.
But it is an amazing revelation that we are surviving on our same old income in a very different economic situation. Sometimes, I wonder how some families who live on Nu.100 (or less) per day wage put up with this dramatic change.
I hate figures. They fail to make sense to me, but why is this inflation alarming? Well, it is. Terrifyingly alarming in fact! Because, what we earn today is far less than we would have earned seven years ago talking in terms of ngultrum’s purchasing power. This means, if our monthly income is Nu. 10,000 today, the same amount can only purchase goods and services worth Nu.6, 800 (32% depreciation) the same amount seven years ago.
Now compare the price of food items today and how much it was seven years ago.
What is the way out? If there is another pay hike, will it solve the problem? Should some concerned authorities interfere? Are people in the authorities aware of the economic situation we are in?