We should heed the President’s appeal

Friday, June 05, 2015
A presidential statement has renewed a call on business people, especially food commodity dealers, to guard against the habit of inflating prices of food commodities during the holy month of Ramadan.

This call or appeal is significant because price escalation of goods and services, especially food commodities, has been the norm over the years during the month of Ramadan.

It is, therefore, essential that such an appeal is made to deter any attempt at unscrupulously increasing commodity prices, during Ramadan by some business people in our society.

We should be especially considerate and helpful enough at this point in time, by resisting the temptation of unduly increasing prices of commodities and services offered all because it is the Holy Month of Ramadan!

This is a time - the holy month of Ramadan - that we are least expected to unleash hardship and constraints on others. We are rather expected to do good, be fair and honest in our dealings with one another, as we fast and pray faithfully to our maker the Almighty Allah.

The latest of the calls on business people to maintain actual and moderate prices of their commodities and stocks, fell on the heads of livestock owners and dealers as well as on fishmongers, including fishermen and women in the trade.

A recent State House release on undue price escalation issued the following warning: “It has come to the attention of Government that in spite of its continued intervention in the livestock sector through the professional veterinary and other services, cattle owners and dealers continue to hike cattle prices beyond the levels affordable to the masses, thereby causing untold hardship for the average Gambian, especially during the holy month of Ramadan.

“Against this background all livestock owners or dealers are hereby warned to desist with immediate effect from the unacceptable escalation of meat prices to the detriment of Gambians, failure of which government will stop its interventions that benefit livestock owners.

“Furthermore, all livestock/dealers are hereby informed that with effect from 1st June 2015, government will provide no free veterinary services until meat prices are lowered and made affordable to the masses.”

In the same vein, the Gambia Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (GCCPC), as the institution mandated to safeguard consumers from unscrupulous, unfair and misleading business practices to ensure consumer welfare in a competitive market, has appealed to businesses to be moderate and considerate in the pricing of goods as we enter the Holy month of Ramadan.

The GCCPC says it will continue to monitor the commodities market for signs of anti-competitive business conduct and will take steps in accordance with the Competition Act 2007 and Consumer Protection Act 2014.

All these appeals and warnings are geared towards making sure that we observe the holy month of Ramadan with less stress and hardship, as we toil day in day out to eke out a living. So we would like our business people to heed these calls, respect the precepts of God and make life hassle-free for ourselves and society.

“Let’s be our brother’s keeper. ”