Dec 18, 2019, 3:20 PM
and people resident in the country are experiencing one ofthe most trying
moments in our lifetime. The high cost of living in the country is making
living extremely difficult for average Gambians, especially those living below
the poverty line.
Prices in The Gambia are skyrocketing and citizens are suffering.
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 and that some major shop owners have started relocating to other countries where duties are cheaper than The Gambia. Commodity prices have spiraled upwards recently meaning the average family’s monthly spending on essential goods has doubled in some cases.
It is something of an irony that today, although the official inflation rate is low, the monthly spending of most Gambians has risen rapidly.
Prices of daily necessities such as food, water and electricity, are rising and many families are struggling under the unfortunate pressure of this increased cost of living.
A household spending D2,500 a month on food in 2010 will now have to find at least an extra D2,000.
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 on the price 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.
In today’s Gambia the average salary is D3,000 whilst a bag of rice costs an exorbitant price of between D1,100 and D1,550. While many blame the increase in the prices of goods on the newly introduced Value Added Tax (VAT), the revenue agency is saying no.
A family of five needs D35 daily to buy bread, D3 per loaf to butter the bread amounting to D15; D2 per person to have a tea bag adding up to D10; and D9 for a cup of sugar. Hence, if the family does not have D69 daily, the members will not have a normal poor person’s breakfast.
D50 cash power a day which amounts to D1, 500 a month cannot be afforded by many middle-income families whose bread winners earn less than D3,000 monthly.
People living in their own built houses are lucky that they not part of the skyrocketing house rental market. The cheapest two bedroom apartment one can get is D1,700.
People who have mobile phones are now sending “bips” so that the receiver will call back because of poverty.
Internet tariffs are sky rocketing as daily users spend D100 on
Megabytes and normal calls, D3,000 monthly.
This is on top of the aforementioned average salary (D3,000) and monthly expenditure (D9,690 in total). This shows that the average Gambia can’t save on a monthly basis.
Note: Some other daily expenditures are not even mentiond here.
There is real hardship as many families cook one meal a day. Even that single meal is put in a big bowl for all to gather around and take whatever share the quantity of food permits. The poverty in the country is why many peoplehave been transformed into secret beggars.
They will tell you that a wife needs an operation; a father has suddenly died in the provinces and they do not have the fare to go to the burial, those few Dalasi are to purchase medicine. In reality, they have not cooked for a weekend and appreciate any help to feed a family on the verge of starvation.
Youths are out of jobs and many who have jobs can’t sustain themselves and their families financially. The cost of the living has left many with no choice but to traverse the deathly Mediterranean Sea. So many Gambians have lost their lives and many are feared to be in Libyan jails.
Governments should exist for the people. The people are not supposed to exist for those who govern to live in comfort, while they who elect them live in poverty. The duty of every government is to listen to the complaints of the people and address them and not to suppress thevoice of the people and oppress them.
Any government that is not concerned with the suffering of the people and is not willing to listen to complaints of their hardship should vacate political office. That is the verdict of truth justice and democracy.”
POWER OF FREEDOM
Kanifing South, the Gambia
Tel: (+221) 771364135 - Senegal
(+220) 3777080 - The Gambia