SOLOMON ISLANDERS STRUGGLE WITH COST OF LIVING

Editorial

Solomon Star

HONIARA, Solomon Islands (Sept. 10) - As the Solomon Islands are locked-up in an endless political debate surrounding our top leaders – they don’t realise that life’s getting harder for ordinary Solomon Islanders each day. The political dynamites may have little consequence on this – nevertheless citizens of this nation are facing each passing day with a rigorous wrestle.

In the recent weeks and months – most of our stable food, especially the imported products continue to rise at an exorbitant pace. It now reaches a stage where even our affluent individuals are finding it hard to obtain it. For instance, a two-kilo chicken is now almost SB$100 [US$14.35], up from SB$50 [US$7.17]. Many Solomon Islanders were unable to acquire chicken at SB$50, and with the 100 percent increase it makes it almost completely impossible for them afford it. If these people can’t afford then how would our ordinary citizens can cope?

The chicken is just an example.

The sad thing is the rise of these common goods continues to outpace salary increase of many Solomon Islanders. Our people nowadays don’t have the buying power to match the increase.

As a result, our people are finding it hard to eat good food. They are deprived of what other Pacific Islanders are eating. Basic food is available in the rest of Pacific Islands but not Solomon Islands. This leads to a good number of our people become malnourished as they are not eating balanced diets on a routine basis. Our people, instead, are eating the same food, each day because that’s what they can afford. To add to that, many are living in crowded houses and that puts a lot of pressure on the bread winner.

It’s therefore not surprising to see continued increase of break-ins, prostitution and illegal selling of drugs and alcohol. Such actions are condemned. But those who carry out these activities know that it’s illegal but that’s their only mean of survival. We can tell the people to go home but they’ll tell you on your face that what has the government or the leaders offered them in their respective villages.

We now reach a very serious position that it needs immediate and effective solution to stop this slide to disaster.

We can’t sit like this and see the prices hiked almost every month.

The continued rise of goods is a pain for every Solomon Islander. Many of our athletes who attended the Samoa Games will testify the life in that country, so as those in Fiji, Papua New Guinea and many other islands states is not that tough as our country.We really need to address this. We believe our weak dollar is only part of the factor in this sad story. But we believe that certain people especially those who suppose to monitor and evaluate these increases are not doing their job. The failure makes it really tough for us to live an affordable life. These people need to explain to the nation as to why the price hike never stops.

Why did the Minister of Finance announce a 10 percent decrease of price of rice but a week later prices have shot up? Has the minister lied, or some people are not doing their job?

If this is the way we are going, we can only feel sorry for our children, the future generation of this country. We can see that they will be forced to choose between a bag of rice or be given their actual pay as their forthnightly pay will be equal to a bag of rice.

Sad, it may, but we are heading that direction.

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