The cost of living in Trinidad and Tobago is on the rise with everything from taxi fares to food prices spiking. Yet it is expected that workers will make due on a minimum wage of 17.50, a wage that has been in effect since December 2019.
President of the Food Distributors Association, Michael Shehuelt, states that the cost of global shipping, freight, and the increased demands, as countries come out their respective lockdowns the main factors driving the increase in food prices seen in local supermarkets and also seen in the past few months.
Kiss Baking Company Limited stated in a release that raw material prices have risen as much as 30 percent in some instances. With prices now as high as seventeen dollars ($17.00) for a loaf of bread.
Market goods as well, have been on the rise with wholesale prices skyrocketing. Chives have seen an increase from 40 dollars per bundle to as high as 140 per bundle. Wholesale ginger has observed a 32% price increase going from 26 dollars per kilo to around 40 dollars. Cucumbers also increased by 66% compared to July.
Not to be left out, the Taxi Driver Association has also raised their fare prices from the Port-of-Spain to the Chaguanas area. With the changes to be in effect from October 11th.
With so many price increases, how are regular workers expected to live in these trying times with a minimum wage of 17.50? In January it was made clear by the Minister of Finance Colm Imbert that the government cannot afford wage increases, but how can we afford to live if only an hour of work can only buy a single loaf of bread?