Going round some of the major urban markets, the price for a bag of rice is now pegged at least D1,500, while a 20-litre gallon of oil costs almost D2,000. A bag of onion, sugar and other food commodities have all risen overnight. This has even left tongues-wagging over the skyrocketing nature of foodstuffs as Muslims feast of Ramadan fast approaches.
Some traders shared that the reason for charging extra for these essential commodities is the increased prices in the international market. But that cannot be justified.
However, one thing for certain is that the prices of food items have risen much more in the local market than in the international market. Even in local markets some traders are in the habit of increasing their food prices whenever they feel without even considering the international markets.
So they just take the hike in the international market as an excuse to charge higher prices for their commodities.
We therefore call on the government to look into this greedy market misconduct by some traders and ensure that sanity prevails in the business sector. The locals have longed to cry and yet their plights have not been addressed or have fallen on deaf ears.
The Covid-19 pandemic can be used as a tool to exploit consumers by violating the government prices of basic food.
Government should also look into the depreciation of the dalasi against major currencies like the US dollar, Euro and others, which is increasing the import cost of different commodities.
The Gambia will always remain vulnerable to import-induced inflation because of its reliance on external markets for key commodities. As a result, the only way for the country to get out of this vicious cycle—which also includes depending on other countries to make sound financial decisions and devise a paradigm shift by investing in agro-food companies and industries.
Government should also encourage involvement in providing some essential commodities from its own stock to people who are struggling in the form of government aid.