Consumer Basket in BiH is 1.000 Euros, and in Montenegro Much Lower?

By , 19 Mar 2018, 16:13 PM Business
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Consumer basket for a family of four in the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina is 1.060 euro; in Republica Srpska it is 970 euros, while in Montenegro it is 629 euros?

The difference is that in BiH, the consumer basket is calculated by trade Unions based on the optimum necessities for a family of four, while in Montenegro, this is performed by the National Institute for statistics from the minimum needs for “maintaining life".

A member of the team who, on behalf of the Trade Union in BiH participates in the calculation of the consumer basket, said to “Vijesti” that the entity and state government approve of their consumer basket when negotiating the minimum wage, defining the wage, or reimbursements in collective contracts. But from their strength and the state’s possibilities, it depends on if and how much they will succeed in increasing the salaries of the employees.

Asked about what would be the amount of the consumer basket for a family of four in Montenegro according to their methodology, the interlocutor said that it should be 100 to 200 euro more than in BiH.

“You have significantly higher prices for electrical energy and fuel, and our VAT is 17 percent while yours is 21 percent. It would be realistic that the consumer basket in Montenegro is approx. 1.200 euro for the optimum monthly needs for a family of four in the 21st Century," said a source to “Vijesti” who preferred to stay anonymous in order to avoid eventual resentment by his colleagues in Montenegro.

Only for the alimentary part of the basket in BiH 390 euro is needed, and in other entities 355 euro, while in Montenegro, 256 euros are required "to survive". 

All remaining items in the consumer basket in Montenegro are 372 euro, without accommodation rent, while in BiH, the non-alimentary part of the basket is another 650 euro.

For the consumer basket in BiH, accommodation rent and utilities are counted in average or another 320 euro, transport costs are 110 euro, and clothing and footwear 75 euro. Repairs and maintenance of homes are calculated at 55 euro, hygiene and health care 50 euro, and education and culture 45 euro.

Montenegrin free trade unions demanded that the Social council schedules an urgent assembly and puts on a discussion in the methodology from Monstat, according to which the minimum consumer basket of 629 euro is almost equal to the official average salary of 512 euro. The amount of the consumer basket according to the previous methodology was 806 euro.

The union announced that if Monstat does not change the methodology at the request of the Social Council, they will start with the calculation of its consumer basket according to the optimum necessities methodology for a family of four.

The member of the Social Council’s presidency on behalf of the Union, Vukasin Zogovic, recently said that they have suspicions in the average salary of 512 euro, because according to the data they received from the Revenue direction for calculation and payments of wages, the average should be 440 euro. As he said, the reason for this difference is because Monstat is only calculating data from employers who have 10 and more employees, not considering small and craftsman shops who have ten employees whose salaries are, most commonly, the lowest ones.

The average salary in Bosna and Herzegovina is 439 euro, as calculated by their Institute for statistics.

The Trade Union in BiH has recently announced that according to their monitoring of prices and consumer baskets, costs of living for the past six months increased 200 convertible marks or 100 euro. That is why they initiated an official request that the minimum salary in BiH, from the present 406 marks (207 euro), should be increased to 623 marks (319 euro).

The minimum wage in Montenegro is now 193 euro, and it has not changed for the last five years - it is the lowest in the region.

The Trade Union and SDP started an initiative almost a year ago for an increase of the consumer basket to half of the average, which would be 250 euro. The Trade Union said they are ready to support raising the minimum salary in Montenegro if there would be a part that is not submitted to taxes, as already exists in the regional countries. They stated that the highest taxes on salaries out of the whole region are in Montenegro. According to the data from Revenue direction, 77,000 employees are insured on the net salary up to 250 euro or 43 percent of the total number of the registered employees.

The vice president of the Trade Union in BiH, Selvedin Satorovic, said that there is a large number of employees in the sector oF private business in BiH insured on a minimum wage and that this is also the state’s problem regarding which they request the salary’s increase.

“That’s why people are leaving this country. It pays off more to work on the black market in the EU," said Satorovic.

Text by Goran Kapor, on March 19th, 2018, read more at Vijesti

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