Survey: is there hope for tomorrow?Business
The annual survey by the Business & Finance team queried people’s optimism before the budget. Unsurprisingly, people were not positive: only one-in-six respondents expected relief measures. Well, they were the ones that were proven right given that the budget does attempt to shift the burden to the rich, however weak the attempts may be.
Continuing in the vein of pessimism, nearly half the respondents expect the budget will make the economy worse, not better. About 82 per cent of people who answered believe that the budget will do jack all to create more jobs in a country ferociously pedaling away from a default.
Taking a weighted average of the salaries that respondents reported, it would appear that the average person who is English-savvy enough to read Dawn and conscientious enough to answer economy surveys earns a measly Rs150,000, the bulk of which is spent keeping the household afloat by paying essential bills. Almost all respondents expected expenses to increase.
It would appear that people believe that hope for tomorrow is a pipe dream.
The upper echelons of the middle-income group are increasing and the lower cadres are moving up. Inflation, among other factors, is making the absolute household incomes rise, even if people are worst of in absolute terms.
EARNING TO EAT
Kitchen bills have skyrocketed with an average middle-income family spending a quarter of their income just on food-related expenses. Almost all respondents believe the upward trend will continue.
RENTS INCHING UP
Four years ago, more people could manage acceptable accomodations for less than Rs20,000. Now only one-in-ten can find such lodgings.
Nearly half of the middle-income group managed to keep transport costs to below Rs10,000 a mere two years ago. Today, one-in-four respondents pay over Rs30,000 per month to commute, up from one-in-ten in 2019.
A 3X INCREASE
Similar to transport expenses, the amount paid for utilities has changed drastically for the respondents. Where once the bulk of respondents paid less than Rs10,000, now most pay 3x the amount to over Rs30,000.
Published in Dawn, The Business and Finance Weekly, June 13th, 2022