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Fair pricing in Ramadan

Jun 2, 2016, 5:34 PM

Ramadan is fast approaching and we have started seeing some signs of cooperation from the business community.

That is, they have started yielding to the call of government for the maintenance of fair pricing of their commodities, especially food items.

For instance, the Gambia Livestock Marketing Agency (GLMA) in consultation withthe taskforceset up to regulate the marketing of livestock and meat in the country, has announced that meat will be sold in the Greater Banjul area and the Kombosaccording to the approvedtariff, with immediate effect.

They have, therefore, come up with some reasonable prices of meat to ensure the populace is able to afford meat food in the holy month of Ramadan, although such a position should always be the norm: fair pricing of food commodities and goods and services.

According to a recent press release on price tariff for meat in the country, meat and bone should be sold at D175 per kilo, whilst beef steak and sheep and goat meat should be sold between 200 and D225 per kilo, across the country. This is good and should be seen to be observed.

A few weeks ago, the Trade ministry convened a meeting involving key economic operators such as food importers and other merchants to discuss and agree on resisting the temptation of overpricing their commodities in the month of Ramadan due to anticipated increase in demand for certain essential food items.

Whereas in such a holy month, sincerity, sacrifice and honesty should prevail in all that we do as Muslims, it seems the dictates of market forces – such as rise in demand rise in price - would always supersede Godly and virtuous tenets of honesty and fairness. Hence prices of highly needed food commodities are always inflated, thereby making life and the month of fasting difficult for the populace or the common man.

But the government through the Trade ministry and institutions like the Gambia Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the Gambia Competition and Consumer Protection Commission are putting in place the necessary measures to caution and prevent overpricing and profiteering in the system, especially in Ramadan month.

Butchers, and by extension business people, “are therefore warned that the taskforce will be constantly monitoring the tariff” at the markets and other points of sale of meat, and defaulters “will be prosecuted under the Consumer Protection Act and also have their operational licenses or permits forfeited.”

This stance by the authorities, it is believed, would help to ensure fair pricing is maintained in the country during and after the fasting period.

“Let’s be honest and observe fair pricing in Ramadan.”

The Point