Higher prices for everything from fuel to everyday necessities, as well as rising housing rentals, are hitting the middle and low-income households. Many people residing in the city shared that they are struggling to cover their daily expenses.
Sonam Dorji, 33, a machine operator in one of the private construction companies, stated, “I get a salary of Nu 30,000. But I pay Nu 15,000 for house rent. The remaining money is for repaying the loans and for basic commodities and fuel.”
According to Sonam, lower-income workers are particularly hard struck by the inflation.
“It has become quite tough to simply subsist on my current wage. It is also impossible to find a residence with a modest rent. There is little left to save after paying rent and purchasing basic essentials. Sometimes I wish I could go back to the village and stay there since surviving in the city has become so difficult,” he explained.
He added, “When I hear about others leaving for Australia and other places, I too want to leave, but I don’t have the money and can’t afford to do so.”
A mother of a 5-year-old child working in a private firm as a marketing officer, Dawa Dema, similarly stated that 51 percent of her salary is spent on her house rent and with just 49 percent remaining to pay for the utilities and basic necessities.
“I am a single mother, and earn Nu 20,000 and pay a house rent of Nu 11,000 a month. After paying rent, only Nu 9,000 is left for me to spend on groceries and other basic necessities. My child is currently in school, and I have to pay a monthly tuition fee of Nu 1,500. I have to manage everything with the few amounts left to last for a month. I can’t even buy good clothes for my daughter. I feel disappointed with myself for not even being able to give a good life to my child. I don’t have any other source of income, and sometimes, I have to even borrow money, which makes it difficult for me to pay my bills at the end of the month,” she said.
She also stated that she is looking for a minimal rental home.
“I’m concerned that if this situation continues, I won’t be able to provide a suitable education for my child. Even if she completes class 12 and wants to continue her education, I won’t be able to send her since I don’t have any savings,” she continued.
Passang Wangmo, 31, works for a private company, and she explained that Thimphu is a very costly city to live in, and working for a private company is challenging since an individual is paid less, and some are not even paid on time.
“I earn Nu 12,000 and I am staying in a combined house where I have to pay Nu 5,000. I use the remaining money to buy supplies and save some for my bus fare. I have to manage and live with the little money I have, and sometimes, I don’t even get paid on time. And now, with the inflation, it’s much more difficult. I am not able to send money to my parents,” she said.
Pravin, 28, a shop owner in Babesa, said the inflation has reduced his standard of living.
“While certain parts may be ignored, it is the everyday necessities, such as food, shelter, and petrol, taking the biggest hit. People who are leaving for greener pastures are not to blamed. They are leaving because they are unable to generate enough money to support their families. What if you don’t even have enough money to send your children to college? So they have no choice but to go,” he explained.
He remarked that, “I am operating a small business, and I am barely surviving in the capital. I must pay rent for the shop’s space. On top of that, my business is suffering, and I am struggling to pay my rent.”
He also stated that he intends to quit everything and go to Australia.
“I passed my IELTS and will be processing my application soon. I believe this is the ideal age to seek further education, and at least while studying, I can make some money, save it, and send it back home,” he added.
Chencho, 37, a truck driver, expressed concerns on his children’s future if the inflation continues to climb year after year.
“I work as a truck driver, and I am paid Nu 20,000. My wife and two children, as well as my father and mother-in-law, live together. I have to put food on the table for six people, including myself. After paying the house rent and saving money for essential requirements, my pockets are empty. I even wonder if I’ll be able to provide a nice life for my children because inflation is on the rise, everything is rising higher, and the wage we’re getting is insufficient,” he opined.
He went on to say that he lacks the qualifications to land a office job, and lacks the funds to even start a business. “Life is getting quite difficult to survive. You must manage everything with what little you get,” he concluded.