Two average salaries not enough to cover cost of consumer basket in Bosnia


Experts say that, apart from the evident tobacco price hikes, there were no major increases in prices of groceries, adding that all previous rises in prices were followed by rises in salaries, but consumer societies and unions in Bosnia disagree.

We entered 2020 with a consumer basket worth almost €1,000 for which two average salaries are not enough to fill. But that is not all, new price hikes for tobacco and tobacco products are announced for January 10 and January 20.

One of the first announcements of the newly elected Bosnian prime minister Zoran Tegeltija was the Value Added Tax (VAT) rise.

But the Natura Consumer Protection Society warns that citizens’ expenses are already enormous. They recall that VAT, tobacco and fuel excise revenues showed no results.

“We're giving all this money to our politicians who then spend it the way they want to. Bosnia has the money but lacks results. Bosnia is stagnating for years, it spends money which could be used for its development, and our citizens are not informed of their rights – they don't know what they're paying, who they're paying it to and why,” marina Bago from the Consumer Society said.

But what worries citizens the most is the rise in food prices. The Union estimates that food accounts for 41 percent of the average family's total expenses.

“There has been a major price correction in terms of tobacco and tobacco products, with an average of some seven percent, rents are up about two percent, food is up 1.8 percent, but at the same time, there has been a 4.8 percent salary increase and pensions rose by 4.4 percent, “said Goran Mirascic, an economist.
“We really have a situation where the average salary is 5 percent higher than what we had in 2018, and the general price level rise is below 1 percent. So there is no reason to say that we are worse off than last year,” said Muamer Halilbasic, director of the Sarajevo Economic Institute.

The Union organisation of Bosnia and Herzegovina warned years ago that wage increase is not in line with the rise in prices of the consumer basket. For years, two average salaries have not been able to cover all the costs of a family of four, which reached €1,000 per month.