By Nelson Manneh
The prices of basic commodities continue to increase and consumers blame the government for not coming up with regulation on prices.
Foroyaa has reported more than three times in the year 2019 concerning the increment of prices of some basic commodities.
This reporter on Tuesday 7th January 2020 visited some of the markets within the Kanifing Municipality and Brikama to sound the opinions of people on the prices of some basic commodities and realised that there is hike in the prices.
A bag of American Rice has now increased to D1150, from D1100; a bag of Onions increased to D575 from D490; a twenty litre container of cooking Oil is now D1250, which was D1150; a bag of flour has increased to D1450; a kilo of beef to D260 and a bag of sugar to D1300.
Modou Lamin Jawara, a wholesale vendor at the Brikama market said the prices of commodities are determined by the cost of importation.
“The exchange rate of hard currency that we used to import some of these goods is very expensive and we also cost these commodities based on how we buy them outside,” he said.
Mr. Jawara said the fluctuation and the increment on the prices of commodities are based on the fluctuation of hard currency.
“If the government wants the price of goods to be stable, they have to start with hard currencies first, let them regulate the exchange rates and later come to the goods,” he noted.
Mariama Bah a petty trader at the Serrekunda market said the prices are increased by business people arbitrarily.
“In the market, a cup of rice is sold at different prices, these differences are based on the way we purchase our goods from the wholesalers,” she said.
Mrs. Bah said the government should make sure that the prices of basic commodities are stabilized and pegged at one place.
Fatoumatta Kandeh a housewife said her husband gives her D250 as fish money every day, but sometimes she uses her own money in order to get what she wants from the market.
“I don’t know my husband’s salary, but looking at the expenditures he incurs on fish money and other basic needs one can conclude that we are living from hand to mouth,” she said.
Madam Kandeh said people’s salary does not commensurate with people’s daily expenditures.
Cherno Jallow a butcher in Abuko said the price of a kilo of beef has increased to D260.
“We used to sell a kilo of meat at D225, but we have not been making any profit and business is all about making profit. We have our families and we come here to make ends meet,” he said.
He said the cost of living in The Gambia is very expensive and the worst thing is that if the price of any commodity increases it never goes down.
Bags of rice in one of the shops