Bosnian leader derided over 'wasteful spending' remarks

A man shopping in a Bosnian supermarket Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Mr Novalic says people are spending their cash unwisely on non-essentials

A Bosnian leader has drawn the ire of social media users for saying people in the region are frittering away their cash on luxuries.

Fadil Novalic, prime minister of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina - one the two entities into which Bosnia is divided - said people fill their shopping baskets with non-essentials. "The citizens of the Bosnia-Herzegovina Federation have a good life. What's more, they have money to waste," Mr Novalic said, citing figures on what people bought at Bosnia's main supermarket chain, Bingo. "The best-selling item was coffee, then cigarettes, the fourth was beer, the eighth wine," he said. "Of the first 10 items on the list, only three are essential."

But his comments didn't go down well on social media, where users posted a host of sarcastic comments about their "extravagant" lifestyles alongside the hashtag #FadileOprosti - "Forgive me Fadil", the N1 news website reports

"I had a bath and it's not Sunday. #ForgiveMeFadil," wrote one user. "I bought trousers for seven marks in a second-hand shop. It's pay day!" another person wrote - seven marks being about $3.90 (£2.70). One man posted a photo of his morning caffeine fix with the comment: "Coffee, with milk #ForgiveMeFadil". Some tweets were more pointed. "More than 150,000 young people have left Bosnia-Herzegovina since 1995," read one tweet. "It's simply embarrassing how good we are having it."

In response to the flood of criticism, Mr Novalic said he simply told the truth, and that people aren't ready to accept it.

Balkan Insight notes that Bosnia is one of the poorest countries in the region. Average take-home pay is $457 (£320) a month, and the United Nations says more than 60% of the country's youth are out of work.

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