Dhaka costliest city for foreigners in S Asia

Dhaka cityUNB

Dhaka has turned out to be the most expensive city in South Asia for foreign citizens and 98th expensive globally in a survey carried out by US-based research firm Mercer.

No other South Asian city has ranked in the top-100 in the Mercer Cost of Living Survey-2022.

Released on Wednesday, the survey ranked 227 cities on the basis of comparative costs of more than 200 goods and services, including housing, transportation, food, clothing, household goods, and entertainment.

According to the survey, Dhaka ranked 98th out of 227 most expensive cities in the world this year, slipping 58 notches from the previous rank of 40th. From this point of view, the living cost of foreign citizens came down a bit here compared to the previous year.

The government has no exact data of foreigners living in Dhaka. The number is presumed to be 100,000 t0 500,000.

According to the Mercer survey, the top expensive cities for expatriates are Hong Kong, Zurich, Geneva, Basel, Bern, Tel Aviv, New York City, Singapore, Tokyo, and Beijing.

The costs of living in other South Asian nations are lower than in Dhaka. In the index, Mumbai, the commercial hub of India, ranked 127th while New Delhi 155th, Chennai 177th and Bangalore 178th. Colombo of Sri Lanka ranked 183rd while India's Hyderabad ranked 192nd, Pune 201st and Kolkata 203rd. The capital of Thailand, Bangkok, occupied the 106th spot.

Meanwhile, Karachi and Islamabad in Pakistan turned out to be the least expensive cities for expatriates in South Asia. The two cities ranked respectively 223rd and 224th in the global index.

Selim Raihan, executive director of the South Asian Network on Economic Modeling (SANEM), said it is good in a sense that a foreigner spends higher for his living in Bangladesh and the money remains in the country.

But it has a negative side in the long run as it discourages foreigners from staying here. It will eventually have a negative impact on tourism, he added.