In addition to salaries, pensions should also increase from the New Year. It is a regular adjustment that entity governments do at the beginning of each year, when the statistical institutes publish parameters on the percentages of average salary growth and inflation. The amount by which pensions will be increased will be known in January. BHRT researched how pensioners live, how they cope with daily price increases, but also what the pensions of our neighbors are.
The new year is approaching, and the entity prime ministers say that they have not forgotten the pensioners and that they too can count on higher incomes in 2024.
“Certainly we will monitor and fulfill our obligations and harmonize the growth of pensions with the growth of living costs. We will see how we do and whether there will be an opportunity for some extraordinary increases”, says Nermin Niksic, President of the Government of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
“We expect that on 01.01. In the 24th year, there was a new increase in pensions, and in the 23rd year there was a 13.5 percent increase in pensions, social benefits, veterans’ benefits and all those benefits that come from the RS Budget”, says Radovan Viskovic, Prime Minister of the Republika Srpska.
The first people of entity associations of pensioners are relatively satisfied with the upcoming increase in pensions. Of course, they would like the increase in pensions to be significantly higher, but they say they are aware of the economic situation.
You need to be a real magician to survive a month as a pensioner in Bosnia and Herzegovina. They don’t understand how they manage it either. The average pension in Bosnia and Herzegovina is 608 BAM or 305 euros and as such is the lowest in the region. Pensioners in the Federation are in a slightly better position than their colleagues in the Republika Srpska. The average pension in BiH is 608 BAM or 305 euros. There are 675 marks in the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, and 541 marks in the Republika Srpska. The average pension in Serbia is 666 BAM, in Croatia 878, and the highest in Montenegro is 907 marks.
The President of Republika Srpska Milorad Dodik said that from January pensions will be adjusted to the average salary in the RS, with which the Republika Srpska Pensioners’ Association agrees.
“The biggest victory of this time is that the law was passed on the automatic adjustment of pensions to the average salary,” said Dodik at a press conference in Banja Luka.
He stated that during the next year, this adjustment will enable a 10 percent increase in pensions, and added that an additional 150 million BAM must be allocated for this.
Dodik said that the Association of Republika Srpska Pensioners is the only one relevant to say what is the interest of pensioners in the RS, not the opposition.
Inflation in our country has been on the rise again in the past two months, which was reflected in the increase in prices. Almost everything has become more expensive. Food items and drinks have risen in price by 13 percent this year.
Inflation is slowing, but not abating. Prices rise automatically. Officials claim that in this and the next month, that is, until the end of the year, even a drop in inflation can be expected.
“For the first time, the Central Bank of Europe did not raise interest rates, which means that inflation is stopping. The growth of interest is stopped, which is very good, and we expect this year in the Republic of Srpska an average annual inflation growth of around 6 percent”, says Zora Vidovic, Minister of Finance of the RS.
The banking sector partly contributed to curbing inflation, in which, although Euribor rose from a negative value to four percent, there was no significant increase in interest rates.
“With us, the average growth of interest rates compared to the period last year when we measured it is below one percent, which is significant when we look at banks in Serbia, Croatia or the EU, where the growth of interest rates was between 3 and 4 percent compared to last year”, explains Srdjan Suput, director of the RS Banking Agency.
Monetary policy in Bosnia and Herzegovina is limited compared to other countries. We can neither print money nor reduce it in circulation. In fact, the only way our authorities can mitigate the negative effects of inflation is to increase wages, pensions and financial aid to the most vulnerable citizens.
“Through the increase of pensions and the constant struggle to increase the minimum wage in some way to help those vulnerable categories to overcome this very unfavorable situation. Especially from the aspect of the much greater increase in the prices of food and energy, which affect the poorest much more. In that sense, this aid was necessary,” says Sasa Grabovac from Association of Economists “SWOT”.
Although a large number of citizens will probably disagree, the numbers are undeniable. Earnings, however, grew at a higher percentage than inflation. For the first time since the war, two average salaries can cover the trade union consumer basket, which is around 2,500 marks. However, the question arises as to how the real sector will handle political promises about the lowest salary of one thousand marks.
“I am afraid that some low-productivity and low-efficiency economic activities will not be able to survive this and that these jobs will be threatened to a greater extent in BiH”.
Inflation is imported, and the local authorities are doing what they can to alleviate it. Could it be more? It sure is.