Gov’t urged to act fast amid rising price of basic food commodities

Monday, March 23, 2020

Both traders and consumers are expressing concern about the sudden rise in prices of basic food commodities in The Gambia.

The Point Newspaper has engaged traders over the reason for the sudden rise in prices of basic commodities, with traders saying their businesses have been affected by coronavirus.

In the same vein, consumers have also raised concern over the sudden rise of prices and thus called for government’s immediate action over the issue.

Consumers have blamed traders on the sudden hike of basic commodities, while traders and vendors are also complaining that importers are responsible.

“The prices of basic commodities are very expensive and this is ongoing. The problem of the rise of price of basic food commodities is due to the lack of price control in the country,” says Amadou Korka Jallow, a trader in Bakoteh.

 “We as traders don’t have any control of any price of commodity, we always buy from importers and producers and sell based on the price we bought them,” he explained.

Mariama Mbowe, another trader in Bakoteh, said that the rise in the cost of basic commodities in the country is not their fault, noting that they as traders always price commodities based on how they buy it from importers and producers.

“We don’t have any control over everything. We are selling because we only place price on stuffs based on how we got it from the producers and importers. We want to call on the support of government to dictate and control businesses and prices in the country.”

Dan Njie, a trader in Banjul Albert Market, said it is true that the prices of food commodities are very expensive noting that one of the reasons for the hike of prices of commodities is because there is no price control in The Gambia.

 “The ministry of Trade needs to come up with strict measures on how to control price of businesses in the country. Some of the big problems we face as traders are; we will go and buy things at certain amount, and later, you go back again and found out that the price for that commodity has increased just like that,” he noted.

Yusupha Sidibeh, a consumer in Serekunda, said that soon they will reach to stage where they (consumers) will not have enough money to buy things at the market if government doesn’t act.

“The Gambia is one of the countries that do not have any form of price control. Businessmen and women will always come up with their own price of things without taking any due process,” he said.

He added that the government (trade ministry) should step up with measures before things go out of hand.

Fatou Conateh, another consumer in Bakoteh also calls on government to setup put a price control immediately in the country, adding that with the way things are going in the country, surviving will soon be very difficult for the poor in The Gambia.

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Trade, Industry, Regional Integration and Employment this week issued a statement acknowledging price hikes.

“The ministry has conducted a consultative meeting with major importers as well as a market research. These initiatives have revealed that the stocks of essential food commodities are adequate for the coming months. The prices of most of the brands of rice have also remained stable except the Horse Brand which has increase from D1400 to D1600 per bag due to surge in demand for this particular brand. In addition, the prices of all food commodities have remained stable,” the ministry said in the statement.

“Currently, the stocks of rice with the major importers in the country stood at 18, 214 metric tons and the expected stock for next week is estimated at 20, 000 metric tons. The two combined is more than the two months’ average consumption level for The Gambia,” it said.

Author: Arfang M.S. Camara