UNICEF’s warning: children feel the consequence of the price increases
The Directorate for Economic Planning of the Council of Ministers of BiH together with UNICEF, Save the Children UK and DFID, have developed a methodology to assess the impact of macroeconomic policies on children - the Child Right’s Impact Assessment (CRIA) methodology. The study undertaken to pilot this methodology examined the potential impact of electricity price increases on children and young people in the context of current reform process in the economy of BiH. This research also provides a set of child welfare indicators that can be used during the implementation of socio-economic reforms to assess their impact on child well-being. The study gives voice to children and their parents, as well as child service providers, and indicates the potential for serious impact of further increases in prices of commodities on the well-being of households with children and on children services.
This research drew on the existing sources of information and combined them with qualitative and quantitative studies to identify vulnerable households and assess the range of responses and strategies that could help these households to cope with the effects of the increase in electricity prices. While assessing the impact of potential increase of electricity prices, the study provided insight into the potential impact of any increases in the economic burden on families and households with children in BiH. The study also assessed the potential impact of increases in electricity prices on institutions working for and with children, such as schools and institutions for children without parental care.
Parents participating in the research agreed that any increase of price of electricity would affect the habits and living standards of children. ”In our everyday life, everything affects children. They feel the irresponsibility and immaturity of adults who decide on their behalf.” “The increase in price of electricity affect young people the most, because parents, maybe not knowingly, begin economizing on clothing, schooling, even provisions.”
“Children suffer because of poverty...Children already do not have normal conditions for development (education, nutrition, hygiene, leisure time and similar)“ – these are some statements of parents and representatives of the institutions who participated in the research.
“Any decision on increase of prices in commodities in BiH has to be carefully re-examined for its impact on families with children and for possible mitigation measures. Children and their families already represent population group most vulnerable to poverty and it is our responsibility to make sure that they are protected from the unwanted shocks at the macroeconomic level” says June Kunugi, UNICEF BiH Representative.
Recommendations to mitigate impact of potential increase in electricity prices suggested in the report include lower tariffs for service providers in the public sector and tailored subsidies for vulnerable families.