Shame and humiliation are the words most often heard in the comments of pensioners after the Government of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina (FBiH) increased their pension by a measly 21 BAM. Since February, no one from the Government of FBiH even wants to receive them or at least listen to how they survive on 424 BAM in months when the price of the monthly consumer basket is around 3.000 BAM.
”We are in big trouble because we don’t know how to spend this much money,” says pensioner Mirsad Karovic, ironically commenting on the increase of pensions by 21 BAM.
”Shame and humiliation. People who have worked for 45 years now have the minimum, so let the gentlemen think about it. Let them enter our skin for just one hour so they can feel how we feel,” Karovic added.
Edhem Cutuna is one of the 5.400 pensioners in Gorazde and one of the 3.028 who is trying to survive on the minimum pension.
”It is not an increase, it is a charity. 20 BAM for us, and 500 BAM for them. Imagine a pensioner with 420 BAM, with which he cannot buy even four meters of wood, and look at how cold the winter is. This is sad,” Cutuna pointed out.
Everyone is talking about the 20 BAM, and for 20 BAM you can’t even buy groceries for a solid lunch, says Mirsada Sijercic. She has been retired for about 25 years and it was easier before she says, because everything was cheaper, and she was in better health and could fix the household budget with her own work.
”The price of bread is rising for the second time this year. Basic food. And they always increase the price of oil, sugar, and flour, the things that a person cannot do without. Let the prices of perfumes, drinks, and cigarattes rise, because you can live without that,” Sijercic emphasized.
”About 156.000 pensioners live on a minimum of 424 BAM, and 63.000 of them live on smaller amounts, ” said Suljo Bekan, president of the Association of Pensioners of Gorazde.
”You can neither live nor survive on this. This is the silent dying of pensioners,” Bekan added.
Redzo Mehic, president of the Association of Pensioners of FBiH, recalled that BiH is a country where food and medicines are the most expensive in the region and that pensioners cannot wait for the regular adjustment of pensions in April 2023.
”Colleagues ask us why we didn’t go to protests before the elections, but then it would turn out that we were cheering for someone, that we were overthrowing someone. Now that the elections are over, they don’t have time again because they are busy looking for coalitions. So there is general confusion. Some of your colleagues, probably in favor of the government, announced that the government will receive representatives of pensioners and fulfill their promises, but that is disavowing the public. We still have a promise that they will receive us, they just don’t say in what year,” Mehic states, Avaz reports.