Albert Area Rep calls on GOB to address critical cost of living concerns
The Statistical Institute of Belize reports that for the month of January 2023, the consumer price index (CPI) stood at 112.4, compared to 105.4 in January 2022. This means that the average of all consumer prices is 6.6 percent higher this year than this time last year. The SIB says that prices for fuel and food were the most affected. Food and non-alcoholic beverages were 15.3 percent higher in January than in the corresponding month last year. Taken separately, food was almost 18 percent more expensive on average. Fresh vegetables saw a 26.1 percent jump and this includes cabbage, sweet pepper, tomatoes, and onions. Cereal products were just under 20 percent more expensive, driven by increases in the prices of flour, rice, bread, and tortillas. Albert Area Representative, Tracy Panton today told Love News that because food is becoming more difficult to purchase, her constituency office continues to see an increase in requests for food. She called on the Government to address these critical concerns.
Tracy Panton, Area Representative, Albert Division: “I don’t know about you but I know about me. Every time I visit the grocery store the price of basic food commodities are on the increase. I don’t even know the middle class is become less visible. People are being pushed to the margins of poverty and we have to address what is the primary concern is the high cost of fuel. Let’s you know the government keeps saying “they have to recoup, but they lost, we can’t lower the price of fuel” unless we lower the cost of fuel the cost of production is extremely high, the cost of commodities continues to grow without any supervision and I keep calling for the government to have an inspection team to look at the price gouging that is going on in a lot of these supermarkets, items that are not controlled indeed but you know how do you baking powder go from $2.50 to $6.50 ? There has to be some supervision and some checks and balances in terms of basic food items for people. You know I listened to the Statistical Institute and I’m not sure what matrix they’re using or what formula they’re using about where we are on unemployment. I will tell you that as much as the government continues to boast that they have turned this economy around in such short order it’s not translating to creating a better quality of life for Belizeans. People are struggling. I was just sharing with a colleague that the kind of request we get now were requests we never received. Basic things not because people they don’t want to have to come but they come because they’re absolutely in need and so I would like to see that all these policies that the government keeps putting in, all these loans that we keep borrowing translate to the average man and woman and family on the street because I’m telling you it’s getting harder with each passing day and it’s getting to a point where it’s going to implode.”
The SIB adds that meat products were also 11 percent more expensive and dairy products – which include eggs, milk and cheese – were 21 percent more costly. There were also increases in cooking oils, fish products and fruit. Fuel was also 9.3 percent more expensive this January than last with diesel being $2.54 more expensive, premium was up $2.17 and regular was 46 cents more expensive. Fares on the bus, cabs, water taxis and planes were also 5.2 percent costlier than in January 2022. An inflation of 7.7 percent was also reported in the restaurant and accommodation services. There were also increased fees in cinema and nightclub entrance fees and costs of pet food. Meanwhile, there was a decrease recorded in information and communication, due to lower costs for internet provision services.