May 21, 2020, 12:47 PM
With over 90,000 confirmed cases of coronavirus across the continent, The Gambia is among few African countries that still records fewer cases compared to others within the continent.
Experts warned that increases in food prices have a dominant role in increasing inflation in many countries now. And that it would be misguided to address these specific inflation causes with general macro-economic instruments.
Many put blame on the global coronavirus pandemic. Though, it has contributed to some extent, but the nature and manner in which price of basic food commodities is rising, calls for immediate attention.
Evidence has indicated that price hike most of the times are caused by greedy syndicate of hoarders and retailers, who out of their sheer greed push up prices of certain basic food commodities fast moving food items for no reason at all.
What is really surprising is the fact that this unholy trend starts almost few months to the start of the holy month of Ramadan.
For instance, a bag of American rice, which used to be sold at D1075 is now sold at 1250, and even more in some centres within the Greater Banjul Area.
Sugar, which used to be sold at D1350 is now D1400 and more. A 20- litre gallon of vegetable oil which was pegged at D1000 before is now costing D1300, with a cup being sold at D15.
While a bag of onion now costs D700 which was sold at D450 before. These are just a few examples of the daily realities in our markets.
Government needs to take a firm stance to ensure effective price controls and changes in import and export policies.
Until then, the issue of price hike in The Gambia will remain a talking point for years ago.
We also urge the government to intensify monitoring of the markets by employing special teams, and take stern action against the unscrupulous hoarders and retailers.
Even though, The Gambia operates a liberal market policy, where businessmen are free to sell their goods, but our openness to foreign investors shouldn’t be taken for granted.
Most of the price hikes are orchestrated by foreign businessmen, who are only after huge interest.
Since government of The Gambia has reduced most of the taxes levied on import food commodities in the country, therefore we hope that significant reduction should be reflected in the price of basic food commodities.
We hope that government’s commitment to maintaining stability of food prices would be immediately translated into action.
“Globalization and free trade do spur economic growth, and they lead to lower prices on many goods.”
Mr. President, if we want to have effective productivity in civil service, we must have continuity in the system.