A colleague of mine told me today that his landlord has asked him to vacate the two bedroom apartment rented to him, as the owner’s child is coming back to live there. Another colleague has now been searching for a two bedroom apartment for the last two months as he also has to vacate the apartment that he is renting. Both these apartments are rented for eight thousand Rufiyaa which can now fetch a market value of 10 – 12,000 Rufiyaa.
My colleagues manage to pay rent sharing their apartments with another member of the family or renting out beds to relatives whose children stay with them for their studies in Male’. They earn around eight thousand Rufiyaa and are supplemented by their spouses’ income and “supplementary rent” paid by relatives who live in with them.
Now, their monthly basic household expenditure would jump from fifteen to twenty thousand Rufiyaa. In addition, they cannot get a new place without atleast six months rent advance. That money they would have to beg, borrow or steal.
This is the plight of the lower middle class in a country where the President, his cabinet and the civil servants who serve citizens like my colleagues, live in world class houses, work in wold class offices with the most modern machinery and equipment. The police and the army wear European Standard uniforms. State functions and ceremonies are international standard. But the basic needs and rights of ordinary people are simple unavailable and inaffordable.
I was sitting with a group of upper middle class friends the other day, when all of us agreed that it would simply be not possible to have an economy in the country that could allow for a household income level of ten thousand Rufiyaa a month. We did the calculations and it was clear that it was arithmetically impossible. These were influential juniors who shaped and molded the future of the social and economic fabric of the nation. We all closed the evening by declaring that the politician [Reekoa Moosa] was just playing to the ears of the public.
But, I cannot help wondering wasn’t he right?