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Retailers complain of ‘scarcity’ of sugar

Jun 30, 2011, 12:29 PM | Article By: Lamin B. Darboe

The business community in the country has again come on the firing line as retailers complain of scarcity of sugar.

The scarcity of sugar, a widely needed basic commodity, especially as we approach the holy month of Ramadan, has yet again surfaced.

Latest information, received by this paper, revealed that the price of sugar has again risen to D1600, a situation which, many believe, has led to the scarcity of the commodity.

According to some retailers, who spoke to this paper yesterday at the Serrekunda market, their business have been virtually paralysed, for the past weeks, owing to the scarcity of this much sought after commodity, especially as we approach the holy month of Ramadan.

“This is taking a serious toll on our businesses. It’s not only causing us economic loss, but it could be also described as a sabotage since we are approaching the holy month of Ramadan,” Mamad Ceesay, a retailer at the Serrekunda market, said.

“Where are we heading to when so many things are hanging on our head, coupled with the dramatic increase of prices of basic commodities in this country,” he added.

One Modou Camara, a shop keeper at Bundung Borehole, told this reporter that for the past weeks, he did not have sugar in his shop.

“It is very risky to buy a bag of sugar and sell again, because when you spend D1600 for a bag, how much will you sell a cup for in order to make a profit,” he asked.

According to a businesswoman at the Serrekunda market, who preferred anonymity, they have no choice as domestic businesswomen because the price offered to them by the businessmen is very high compared to the past.

“So we have to sell a cup for either D9 or D10 so as to make profit, provided that we even have,” she said.

Another retailer at the Bundung Borehole market said: “This is a grave cause for concern. The authorities should step in to rescue us. If the so-called businessmen cannot live up to the expectations of the public, let them allow others to take up the challenge.”

“This is unfair and unacceptable,” added another aggrieved retailer.

In the light of this reported development, especially as we enter the holy month of Ramadan, said one Amie Bah, a retailer, the authorities should come up with a public statement to explain to the greater public what must have been responsible for the scarcity, if there is any.

According to one Barry, a shop keeper, it is not the wish of any Gambian to buy a cup of sugar at a price of D9 or D10.

He thus called on the business community to be reasonable enough, and do honest business so as to yield better results.

“Currently, the price of a cup of sugar depends on the way you get the bag of sugar,” said one Lamin Jallow, a shop keeper, who expressed hope that, before the start of Ramadan, “the price of sugar may go down.”