English | Dzongkha Wednesday, March 3, 2021

Ngultrum eight more for goods and services

Jan 9, 2021

Between July and October last year, the price for goods and services increased by eight per cent on an average compared to the same period the previous year. This means people paid Ngultrum eight more for every Nu 100 they spent on goods and services. National Statistics Bureau released its monthly Consumer Price Index (CPI) report, recently.

Pema Wangchuk, a resident in Phuentshogling, said price hike in the recent times is beyond his capacity to understand. ”A packet of noodles which used to cost just Nu 25 a few years ago now cost Nu 150,” he added. Likewise, consumers in different parts of the country shared that prices for goods and services have sky-rocketed in recent times. 

However, some shopkeepers maintain that the increase is not at the source, but it is due to the increase in transportation cost, triggered by the pandemic. According to Sherub Dorji, a shopkeeper in Monggar, amid the pandemic, transportation cost has escalated to the highest extent so far. 

”It used to cost us Nu 2,500 to load in India but now it has increased to Nu 3,500 today. Then, we have to pay Nu 8,000 for shipping a truckload of goods to Pasakha in Phuentshogling. From Pasakha till Monggar, it has increased from Nu 22,000 to Nu 35,000,” Sherab said. 

Likewise, a shopkeeper in Phuentshogling Lotay Tenzin said, ”we don’t have any option but to increase the price as we have to bear the unloading and trans-shipment charges at the Mini Dry Port here. They charge Nu 6,000 to unload and trans-ship one truckload of goods.”

According to the CPI report, the price of meat items has increased by 30 per cent, over 20 per cent for vegetables, and around 15 per cent for fruits and dairy products over the past year. Likewise, the price of betel nuts and betel leaves also recorded a 20 per cent increase. Similarly, prices of non-food items like clothing, footwear, health, and housing utilities increased by close to two per cent.

As a result of the increase in the price of goods and services, the purchasing power of Ngultrum also dropped by around seven per cent. This means goods that could be bought for Nu 67 in 2012 are now costing Nu 100. 

On the other hand, the price of communication dropped to an all-time low. It decreased by close to 13 per cent in October last year compared to the same period in 2019. The decrease is mainly due to the drop in data charges.

Phub Gyem

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