Aug 6, 2013, 9:10 AM
Gambians and people resident in the country are experiencing one of the most trying moments in their life time.
The high cost of living in the country is making living extremely difficult for average Gambians, especially those living below the poverty line.
In today’s Gambia a bag of rice costs an exorbitant price of between D900 and D1200. While many blame the increase in the prices of goods on the newly introduced Value Added Tax (VAT), the revenue agency is saying no.
Whatever the case may be and whoever is responsible for the increase, our message is that Gambians are feeling the pinch of the problem.
For many businessmen, they are of the view that high tariffs and taxes are responsible for the recent hike in prices of essential commodities in the country.
It is a widespread belief that several businesses have not been functioning well that some major shop owners have started relocating to other countries where duties are cheaper than The Gambia.
Of recent, commodity prices assumed an upward spiral so that average family’s monthly spending on essential goods has doubled.
It is something of an irony that today, although the official inflation rate is low, the monthly spending of most Gambians have risen rapidly.
Prices of such daily necessities as food, water, electricity, are hiking and many families are already struggling under the unfortunate pressure of this rising living cost, while the prices of grocery products have continued to rise.
This situation suggests that a household spending D2500 a month on food in 2010 will now have to find at least an extra D2000.
The increase in electricity and water bills has threatened to shoot household budgets over the roof.
The income of the pensioner population is next to nothing. They are much more affected by what is happening now.
However, huge increases are being pushed through in the prices of rice and oil, because they are used widely.
The Ministry of Finance should review tariffs and taxes so that we regain the edge and competitiveness that The Gambia has been known for. They should act now before it is too late.