Consumers bemoan high cost of living

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Consumers in Antigua and Barbuda are lamenting an increase in the cost of living to include food, clothing and footwear, transportation, rent and utilities. Their complaints were backed by the Consumer Price Index (CPI) which showed that the annual rate for consumer prices increased by 2.9 percent in April and June, and 3 percent in May this year.
The CPI is a statistical indicator of changes in the general level of prices of consumer goods and services purchased by private households. Yesterday, a number of people in St. John’s registered their complaints about the increases with OBSERVER media. “Cost of living is very high and this government [is] not trying to do anything to reduce it. Everything goes up in Antigua and Barbuda day by day,” said one motorist. “Food, tyres, batteries, everything you have to use in Antigua is high.”
One woman said that the only thing that is not going up in Antigua is her salary. “We need our employers to raise our pay because everything is raising except our pay,” she said. “When you used to buy a $100 worth of food, now it cost all $300 fuh di two likkle t’ings dem you take up and it cyaa even last fuh wan week.”
Another resident said that life has become extremely difficult for him and his family, especially since he lost his job approximately five months ago. “Things are so expensive and I am having it hard. Sometimes, I have to beg for food and even water to feed my family since I was laid off from my job in February,” said the resident. “I have sent applications all over Antigua for a job, and still nothing.”
According to the CPI report from the Statistics Division in the Ministry of Finance, over the last 12 months, the food index rose 1.9 percent as six of the nine food group indexes increased.
These include food items which rose 6.3 percent and fruits and vegetables which increased 6.2 percent. The index for sugar, jams, and confectionery rose 3.8 percent, while bakery and cereal products increased 2.9 percent. However, the index for dairy and hot beverages declined over the same period last year.
A woman told OBSERVER media that in attempt to escape the high food prices, her family has opted to import food. “The things an dem are so high that you have to send overseas to pack a barrel to get groceries; the taxes and everything is very high,” she said. Colette Browne, Deputy Director for the Prices and Consumer Affairs Division, said that her department helps with the regulation of prices across the island, however, only for basic food items.
(More in today’s Daily Observer)

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