Trade: Let’s exercise honesty and empathy!

Mar 31, 2020, 1:06 AM

Business is an essential human activity that people engage in to earn their living. It is also a fundamental means of promoting the economic wellbeing of a nation. Thus, it is important that those who are engaged in this crucial activity do it with honesty and empathy.

It is being reported in the news about the surge in the price of some basic food commodities in the country.

This comes as The Gambia is faced with a daunting challenge of stemming further rise in the number of covid-19 cases. Already, three covid-19 cases have been reported in the country. Suffice it to state that covid-19 is having a devastating impact on many communities across the globe.

But this should not be an opportunity to hike the price of basic or essential food commodities. In fact this should be a period to show mercy and empathy towards one and another. 

In a joint press release, the Trade and its partner institutions have issued a stern warning against price hiking and hoarding of essential commodities. In the said release, a fine of up to D500,000 fine and trade licence revocation awaits violators.

This comes after President Barrow’s pursuant to Proclamation of a state of public emergency under section 34(1)(b) of the 1997 Constitution in response to the covid-19 pandemic promulgated the Essential Commodities Emergency  Powers Regulation 2020. We salute the Trade Ministry and its allies for their timely response.

The Ministry of Trade, Industry, Regional Integration and Employment in a release has conducted a consultative meeting with major importers as well as a market research. These initiatives have shown that the stocks of essential food commodities are adequate for the coming months. Therefore, the unnecessary price hike by some unscrupulous businessmen is out of sheer greed and unjust profiteering.

We therefore, salute the intervention by these institutions, as it is among the most pressing task for the government in trying moments to monitor and control prices of essential items and to bring down the overall inflation rate.

Though, consumers always blamed traders on the sudden hike of basic commodities, while traders and vendors are also complaining that importers are responsible. But that should not be an excuse to just skyrocket the rice of basic food commodities especially in times of emergency.

Honesty is very important in whatever we do. The growth potentials of the country are growing; there is no need for the people to venture into dubious price hikes. A slow but progressive business is what is sustainable. We hope the business community will adhere to this piece of advice and embrace the culture of honesty and sympathy in business.

Meanwhile, the Kanifing Municipality intends to embark on a mass spray at 19 market outlets within the municipality in a bid to contain the spread of the coronavirus.

“I have never known much good done by those who affected to trade for the public good.”

Adam Smith