By Alhagie F.S Sora
The current prices of the basic commodities at different shops visited are as follows: American rice D1125-1175, Sadaam is D1350-D1500, 20 litre cooking oil D980, Gambian flour D1325, sugar D1380, potatoes D500-D550 big onions bag is D1000 while the small onion bag is at D425-D385. Full chicken is at D1100-D1050, while a carton of chicken legs is at D550-D650.
Mr. Saidu Sowe, a middle aged businessman said he has been in business for almost three decades now. He said the prices of the basic commodities are not stable at the market. He said it is as a result of several factors such as demand and supply of goods and services. He said for the past few months, the prices have been relatively stable. He said one cannot predict the market as it largely depends on the supply. He said that if the supply of goods is increased come this Muslim month of fasting (Ramadan) the prices would be stable. He cited the example of chicken legs and said there used to be one importer but since he now has a competitor despite the demand, there is a significant reduction of its price. Mr. Sowe indicated that on the issue of value added tax (VAT) this year, they the businesspersons did not experience major difficulties as compared to the 2013. He called on his fellow businesspersons to stick to the natural cause of increment of prices and let them not increase the prices without any cause.
Fatoumata Sey, Bintu Colley and Abi Ceesay were buyers met at the market who expressed the fear that prices may further increase during this coming month of ‘Ramadan’. Fatoumata lamented the instability of prices at the market at the moment. She said nowadays she does not decide on what to cook before going to the market, adding that what she cooks is usually determined by the situation of the market. She decried the high cost of meat and fish, saying they constitute an essential part of the dish. She said they can understand if imported goods are expensive but that commodities like fish which is caught in the Gambia should be relatively cheap.
Awa Jabang said everyone knows the situation at the market, adding that it is everyone’s concern. She calls on authorities to respond to the needs of the people they are serving. She said it is difficult to predict prices during Ramadan as prices always increase. She foresees a further increase in prices.