DUSHANBE, December 2, 2015 – The World Bank today presented the initial results of a high frequency survey, aimed at measuring the impact of the economic slowdown on households in Tajikistan. From May 2015, with the opening of the high season for many workers from Tajikistan working abroad, the Listening to Tajikistan survey started tracking the wellbeing and deprivations of a random representative sample of 800 households in Tajikistan. One of the main findings is that the changes in real purchasing power are seasonal. During the period May-mid July, there was a significant reduction in purchasing power for all income groups mainly as a result of the falling remittance incomes due to the Russian ruble depreciation. Yet, for the period mid July-September, as a result of increased self-employment and increase in agricultural activity, there was an increase in real per capita income. The results for September-November are still being analyzed, and will be published shortly.
“This high frequency survey is helping us to understand the impact of the economic downturn on households and how the households are coping with lower incomes, so that our poverty reduction efforts are well designed and targeted,” said Patricia Veevers-Carter, the World Bank Country Manager for Tajikistan. “By making this data available to counterparts in the government, development partners and civil society, we hope to promote dialogue on immediate measures on protecting the poor and vulnerable in the time of economic instability.”
According to the latest Tajikistan Economic Update by the World Bank, growth is expected to decline to 4.2 percent in 2015 as a result of the economic downturn in Russia, falling remittances, and low prices of Tajikistan’s key export commodities. In recent years household income growth in Tajikistan has substantially outpaced GDP growth, but because of the sharp decline in real remittances the projected drop in household’s purchasing power is over 10 percent in 2015, much more than suggested by the GDP numbers.
The Listening to Tajikistan survey collects household data to analyze migration and remittances, income and employment, deprivation and subjective wellbeing, and quality of and access to electricity and water services. According to the latest results, the value of remittances received by a household fell, on average, by 21 percent between May and July 2015. As a coping mechanism, the survey found that the share of household heads finding additional income sources increased from 34 percent in May to 60 percent in September, mainly in agriculture and through self-employment. This helped to increase total per capita income between May and September by about 6.4 percent. However, during the same time period - May-September, the share of households reporting that they are unable to pay for food commodities is increasing, which is a sign of continued vulnerability.
The survey is expected to continue with monthly update till June 2016. The Listening to Tajikistan survey is available on the website - www.worldbank.org/tj/listening2tajikistan.
The World Bank’s active portfolio in Tajikistan involves 25 projects (including regional projects) with a net commitment of US$ 383 million. It is aimed to support economic growth through private sector development, and to increase investment in better public services for people, such as education, health, municipal services and social protection. The World Bank Group is committed to continue supporting Tajikistan in its strive to improve the lives of people and meet the aspirations of the young generation of the country.