The Statistics Agency under the President of Uzbekistan has announced an updated minimum expenditure basket (MEB) figure, which is used to delineate the poverty line. The MEB has surged by 9.3%, from 568,000 soums up to 621,000 soums per person per month (from 18,900 to 20,700 soums per day). These figures are equivalent to the growth from $45.78 up to $50.05 per person per month (from $1.52 to $1.67 per day), according to the currency rate of the CBU on January 22, 2024.

In adherence to legislation, the date of this year’s MEB indicator announcement by the agency on January 20 contrasts with the one of the previous year determined with a six-month delay on July 18.

The calculation considers an official inflation rate of 8.77%, with a 9.7% increase in the average price of food products in 2023.

In 2021, the indicator was derived from a survey covering 10,600 households (with 5,400 households in 2020). The surveyed households were categorized into 10 groups based on their expenditure size, with the lowest 30% identified as having the lowest expenditures (income).

The data obtained from this survey revealed that the MEB for essential daily consumption, covering food (at 2,200 kcal), non-food products and services, totaled 498,000 soums per person per month.

Starting in 2022, the criterion for recognizing a family as low-income in the Unified Registry for Social Protection is aligned with the average per capita income per month, equating it to minimum consumer expenditures. Certain allowances and social norms have to be paid with a minimum threshold set at the level of MEB. Since December 1, most benefits have amounted to 608,000 soums.

MEB is designed to encompass the daily needs of an individual, spanning food, non-food products and services. This method involves determining the fundamental expenses essential for calculating an individual’s daily budget.

As noted by the Statistics Agency, the international norm is to utilize the minimum expenditure basket indicator as a benchmark for poverty lines in order to:

  • identify the target population group in need of material and other social assistance from the state;
  • take into account the peculiarities of real consumption and the needs of the population of the target group, when determining the poverty line in the country;
  • increase the effectiveness and targeting of tasks and measures outlined in poverty reduction strategies and programs, accompanied by continuous monitoring;
  • use this indicator as a criterion for establishing the minimum amounts for pensions and allowances and other forms of material assistance provided to low-income families.