By Sailu Bah
As the shoppers flocked the market to buy goods of choice ahead of the Ramadan feast, they are complaining about the high cost of the commodities on offer and which, according to them, limits their purchasing power. Some of the shoppers have even described this year’s “Wanterr” sales or open market as relatively expensive compared to the previous years when prices are more reasonable during this period.
Talking to some of the vendors on Saturday, 26th July 2014, to get them to explain why the prices are still on the increases, Ass Chorr, a footwear (shoe) dealer, said the prices are increasing mainly because of the rising value of the CFA Franc against the Gambian Dalasi.
“I bought my products from Senegal and I need to change my Dalasi into CFA to be able to buy and bring back these goods to sell them in the Gambia. The CFA is very expensive as the 5000 (Cinq Milles) which used to be less than D400 before the Ramadan is now exchanged at D420 or D450,” he said.
Fallou Joof, a textile and ladies footwear vendor, reiterated the high cost of CFA Francs as the main cause of the price increases, adding that this is not good for their business and is a great disadvantage to them as the customers are not buying their goods which they complain are expensive.
“It is not easy to go to Senegal and buy products and then come back to sell them to the people at a high price. People will always complain about the prices when they are increased, but we cannot do otherwise, lest we are forced out of business,” Joof revealed.
Another textile and ladies footwear vendor, Alieu Jammeh, appealed to the Gambian authorities to urgently address this continuing increase of the value of the CFA Francs against the Dalasi as the trend, according to him, seems to be unending and is forcing some of them out of business. “We are not making profits at all to enable us to sustain our businesses as well as maintain our families,” he disclosed.