13 February 2019 – INFLATION HAS SLOWED DOWN, BUT PRICES CONTINUE RISING! – Economic officials are acting as if prices paid in markets have really gone down. True, the rate of inflation went down to 4.4% in January 2019, the slowest year-on-year in the past 10 months, and economic authorities say inflation rates will go back to projected 2-4% in 2019-2020.
The reality is prices continue to rise, and workers and families continue to reel from the non-stop cuts in their buying power. They could afford to buy less and less every month.
Whatever adjustments the regional wages boards granted have been eroded even before workers could receive the first increases in their ATMs or pay envelopes. A high labor department official said P100 should have been desirable, but the tripartite regional boards decided otherwise.
Some indications of household difficulties, and negative implications on economic growth: Consumption has gone down, rents are being paid later, loans are not being paid, collection notes are rife in social media. Lending schemes, with rates much higher than “usurious” 5/6 have sprouted, sure to trap borrowers in debt months down the road.
If workers are not given the proper higher share in production and productivity, even the highly-touted ‘Build. Build. Build’ program will only produce low-paying jobs, benefit merely a few, and will not lead to the virtuous cycle of socio-economic growth.