Sri Lankans suffer silently with cost of crisis rising to climax
By: Staff Writer
Colombo (LNW): Majority of Sri Lankans are suffering silently as a result of ever increasing cost of living amidst the economic crisis triggered by policy blunders of the previous regime still haunting the island nation.
Though the inflation rate is down to less than 4%, a family still faces an increased cost on consumption goods that reduces its welfare level.
Again, the reduced income levels over the increase in the consumption goods is a double whammy affecting the people. Though the reduction in inflation rate is good for the Central Bank as an indicator for its monetary policy, it is not a valid argument for measuring the welfare level of people if their income has not correspondingly increased.
The economic crisis is bearing on people with as many as 60.5 percent of households finding their monthly average incomes reduced while 91.0 percent of households experiencing an increase in their monthly expenditure levels, according to a survey by the Department of Census and Statistics.
The Department traced back the origin of the crisis to the 2019 Easter Sunday attack, said it was exacerbated by the Cpvid-19 pandemic.
The survey says households not only adapted their food consumption habits but also employed diverse livelihood-based coping strategies to address the challenges of inadequate food access and availability.
Some of these strategies may have adverse effects on their income generation and ability to respond to future shocks.
The survey revealed that 21.9 percent of the households nationwide had implemented crisis strategy to address the scarcity of food or financial constraints.
This was followed by stress strategies, and it is about 19.2 percent. Notably, in the rural sector, this crisis strategy used proportion rose to 22.8%percent of households.
During the survey, numerous households cited various reasons that led to the drop in their average monthly income.
The most frequently reported cause, accounting for 48.7 percent of respondents, was less working hours signifying a significant impact on household income.
People have found salaries, allowances and commissions reduced as the least reported reason among households for the decline in income levels.
As a result of the crisis, households have employed various coping strategies to mitigate its impact such as turning to a secondary job or an additional source of income.”
“Conversely, the least reported coping strategy among these households was loans, mortgages, or seeking food or money from others.”
It’s noteworthy that a substantial majority, comprising 73.6 percent of households facing reduced income, did not adopt any specific coping strategy during this period,” the Department says.
The survey which dealt with the impact on the people’s health says individuals facing unemployment or reduced incomes often encounter challenges in accessing necessary medical treatments and preventive care, leading to delays or unavoidable gaps in healthcare.