#Editorial

Ramadan and the high cost of basic commodities!

Apr 1, 2022, 9:05 AM

Muslims around the world will observe the Muslims feast of Ramadan this weekend. 

 

However, one issue remains in the minds of many is the cost of basic food commodities in the market. 

Many customers have taken advantage of the Covid-19 impact to make profit at the detriment of the citizenry. 

Many would attest to the fact that the prices of basic food commodities in the country have skyrocketed beyond imagination. 

It is not gainsaying that affordable and accessible food prices are a key determinant in any nation’s development.

Going round some of the major urban markets, the price for a bag of rice has escalated rapidly. 

American rice that used to cost D1, 200 is now pegged at D1,500 and even more, while a 20-litre gallon of oil is costing almost D2,000 and more in some areas. 

A bag of onion, sugar and other food commodities have all risen overnight. 

This has even left many wondering over the skyrocketing nature of foodstuffs in the country.

Some traders gave the excuse that the reason for charging extra for these essential commodities is the increased prices in the international market.

But that cannot be justified. Some traders are inflating their commodities for no reason only to make huge profits. 

As much as the country remains a liberal market, authorities must monitor the price of basic food commodities.

Even in local markets some traders are in the habit of increasing their food prices whenever they feel like without even considering the international markets.

So they just take the hike in the international market as an excuse to charge for higher prices on 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. 

Locals have longed to cry and yet their plights have not been addressed or have fallen deaf ear.

The Covid-19 pandemic cannot be used as an excuse to exploit consumers by violating market prices of basic food items. 

We equally call on the government to 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.

We wish all Muslims around the world Ramadan kareem in advance. 

“Ramadan attracts huge increases in profits compared to the rest of the year,” 

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