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Consumers Decry Price Hike

Aug 20, 2009, 7:06 AM

In not less than seventy-two hours, Muslims around the world will be starting this year's holy month of Ramadan, a time that goes all along with it, the traditional tendency of our business folk to hatch one ruse or the other in a conscious bid to profiteer at the back of others.

Conscious of the fact that demands for certain commodities, especially, consumables is high during this period, most businessmen often use the opportunity to profiteer at the expense of consumers.

In view of this unfortunate state of affairs, this paper yesterday conducted a vox pox in and around

Kairaba Avenue
and Serrekunda Market, to sound people's opinions on the seemingly unending price hike of basic commodities ahead of the Ramadan.

According to many who spoke to this paper, businessmen should as a matter of morality, slash the prices of basic commodities because the Gambia is predominantly a Muslim country. For them, Ramadan goes against the spirit of piety and altruism for which the holy month is known.

For many, it will be wrong to use Ramadan as a season to hike prices of basic commodities as believers are expected to be compassionate, caring and sharing, particularly during the month of Ramadan.

"We all know that during the month of Ramadan families would need sugar, rice and other condiments so as to be able to have good meal after breaking their fast", said a 39- year-old Fula businessman at the Serrekunda Market.

According to one Jarra Jarju, a housewife at Dippa Kunda, most business people take advantage of the festive period to exploit others, calling on all to do away with hoarding of goods.

"Despite the fact that there are evidences of a major economic crisis existing, spreading and deepening across the global economy, businessmen should as a matter of morality put people first before profit by not increasing the prices of basic commodities, especially during this holy month of Ramadan", one Hamdi Hassan, a businessman along Kairaba Avenue told this paper, while calling on his fellow businessmen to fear Allah and help the needy and poor.

One Sulayman Yusuf, said though the purpose of any business is to make profit, it should not be used as an excuse to keep the poor masses in the stranglehold of exploitation for the selfish interest of a few. He said prices of staples like rice, vegetable oil, flour, meat and fish should be drastically reduced, now that the Ramadan is just at the corner.

He went further to call on the relevant authorities to do more than they have done so far to effect a reduction in the price of basic commodities, some of which continues to rise beyond the means of the poor Gambian.

"The current increase in the prices of basic commodities in the country is indeed alarming, taking into consideration what most workers take home nowadays. Ramadan is a period when most families spend more than they use to; so an increase in the prices of basic commodities will no doubt deprive the poor to enjoy this holy month", a 25-year-old student of the University of the Gambia said.

According to him, the business community should by all means ensure that prices of basic commodities, especially rice, sugar and oil are reduced during this holy month of Ramadan, adding that "this is the period when rewards are more".

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