Housewives cry out to the sky over cost of living
Santo Domingo, DR
“Right now everything is expensive, you get to the grocery store with RD$500 (US $8.78) and before you even buy the very basics, it’s all gone,” this is how Braulidia Rudecinda expressed herself when asked about how she can “make ends meet,” due to the increase in the prices of the main products of the essential family basket.
This 56-year-old housewife and resident of the Guachupita sector of the National District said that she is not working and the little she gets together with the economic contributions of her son is not enough, since she spends more than RD$400 (US $7) daily, just for lunch.
“My son has a hairdresser’s shop at home and I am not working. Everything is expensive…yesterday I made a salami locrio with avocado and I spent almost RD$400 and we are five people at home,” she said.
While she washed the clothes and then started cooking, she continued talking to this reporter and added that oil is another of the food products that, like meat, have her very worried because they are the things she has to buy every day.
“Oil is very expensive, just like meat. An oil that used to cost RD$15 is now at RD$25, and the bigger ones at RD$35. Gas is already at RD$130, the government should try to improve the prices of food,” said the lady.
The increase is not easy.
Likewise, Elizabeth Antonio Henríquez, also a housewife, said that the increase in the prices of the basic food basket is not easy since she is unemployed and her husband is a motorcyclist. Hence, she says that she spends too much money with only five members of her family.
“Well my daughter, my husband is a motoconcho, he goes around (looking for passengers) and brings me RD$150 and I buy chicken meat which is already at RD$75 a pound (US $1.32), when there is nothing in the house I have to buy rice at RD$40 (US 70¢ cents) a pound, imagine,” she said.
“You can’t even make a variety of food… I like to make my own inventions and cannot even afford that anymore,” Henríquez said. She affirmed that she previously had the Solidarity card but was removed from the subsidy without explanation, adding that she had to go again to the Social Subsidies Administrator (ADEES) to try to be reinstated in the system. However, Henríquez assures that they still have not given her an answer.
“They took away my Solidarity card and they did not tell me why, but I went again and stood in line from 6:00 in the morning and got in there at 4:00 in the afternoon,” she pointed out, referring to the reinstatement of the aid plan.
Her cafeteria went bankrupt.
Another of the housewives, burdened by the high food costs, is Elsa Magaly Pérez, who explained that she used to have a small cafeteria in her house, which she had to take down due to the high expenses.
“This is too hard, I had my little business and I can no longer work because things are too expensive,” she said.
Perez, also a resident of Guachupita, expressed that for people to eat well if one doesn’t have more than RD$300 is not possible, because from rice to beans, everything is going up in price significantly.
“Before I used to cook with RD$300 (US $5.26) and now RD$500 (US $8.78) does not give me enough to cook. Look, beef is already at RD$140 a pound (US $2.45) and chicken at RD$75. Even in the markets everything is more expensive,” she added.
Perez said that neither she nor her daughters have the Solidarity card or any other subsidy. “I don’t come out in any of those government aids,” cried the 65-year-old lady while shining the dishes in her home.
Last Tuesday, during a press conference, President Luis Abinader explained the needs of the thousands of families who have to overcome various economic factors and deal with rising prices, expressing his commitment to measures to counteract these increases.
“I know that the price of the basic food basket is the main problem today for thousands of Dominican families and despite the external factors that affect its rise, the Government is obliged to take the measures within its reach to address this situation,” said the President.
In addition, among the measures to improve the Dominican economy is the provision by Customs of RD$2 billion for credit facilities for importers of agricultural products and inputs linked to the basic food basket, thus accepting the proposal made at the table trade sector.
As for the social sector round table, he proposed that monitoring of prices in the different supermarkets and markets be carried out, a measure which he said will be published every week in the web pages of the Presidency, the Ministry of Industry, Commerce, and Mipymes, the Inespre and the Ministries of Economy and Agriculture so that there will be no discrepancies.
The prices of oil, rice, chicken, beef, and pork continue to be among the products of daily sale for the Dominican that have been keeping both businessmen and end consumers on edge for several weeks.
Housewives affirm that another of the products of daily consumption that has not lowered its price is rice. At the same time, businessmen indicate that the cheapest variety is marketed at RD$24 (US 42¢) per pound, assuring between laughter and sorrow that “there is no more RD$18/pound (US 31¢/pound) rice.”