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A word for the wise…

Jan 15, 2015, 11:24 AM

An ultimatum of some sort has been given to importers, distributors and retailers who deal in essential food commodities in the country.

It has been made clear to these business operators that if they fail to apply fair play in their pricing of essential food items, such as rice, sugar, cooking oil, onions, potatoes, tomato paste, flour, milk and chicken, their operationallicence “would not be renewed” at the end of the financial year, when they will be checked out.

“At the end of the year, if your records show that you are doing as expectedthen your licence would be renewed; if you are not doing as expected thenyour licence would not be renewed ,” the Lands minister was quoted as saying.

He assured the Ministry of Trade that they would always be there to implement the new regulations for pricing to the letter.

Through the Trade Ministry, the Gambia government will implement a new measure in the form of regulating and licensing importers, distributors and major and minor retailers of essential food commodities in the country.

This is to make it very difficult for them to continually engage in overpricing their commodities, without being tracked down by the relevant authorities.

This new regulation, which will take effect at the end of this month, has come to stay, because even the President of the Republic did launch an appeal to those dealing in essential food commodities to be fair and honest in their pricing, but most of the players in this domain “have not been responsive to the appeal”.

Under the new measure, starting from end of January 2015, all importers, distributors and retailers, are required to get a licence, authorization, or registration from the competent authorities.

Unfair and dishonest increase in food prices has to be really put in check, as it is increasingly common to see variedly polarized prices of the same commodities being sold in shops and boutiques in the same locality. And all the sellers could say is they purchase their items at different prices.

This exploitative phenomenon has to be curtailed, as commodity price hikes have been a serious issue and headache for consumers in The Gambia over the years, especially in periods leading to feasts such as Ramadan and Christmas.

So the new measure by government to renew licences based on good practices of honest pricing would serve as a check and deterrent to unreasonable price hikes, and profiteering in the country.

“Change is the law of life. And those who look only to the past or present are certain to miss the future.”

John F. Kennedy