By Mandela Nelson Denis
Traders in Gumbo Market are asking the government to allow them get easy access to US Dollars as the scarcity of hard currency hinders importation of goods and services into the country.
Speaking to Juba Monitor yesterday, the Chairman of the Gumbo Market, Mutebi Yidi said there are so many challenges facing the smooth running of the market but the greatest of all being the scarcity of hard currency, saying that if the government intervenes by supporting the traders, the market will boom.
“The biggest challenge is the Dollar since we buy most of our commodities using US Dollars, some business people are robbed as they search for the dollars, so we are appealing to the government to help us get easy access to dollar,” Mutebi.
Mutebi noted that at times commodities that are brought for sale get finished but it takes the traders long time to get dollars in order to go buy other commodities for sale.
“Some business people come and sell their things but will spend two weeks looking for dollars and this is contributing to the high prices in the market,” Mutebi said.
Mutebi further stressed that other challenges affecting Gumbo Market include poor security especially at night as compared to the daytime.
“We have only nine security personnel in the market yet the market is big and at night only two of them work at times. This has led to numerous theft cases, whereby sometimes the thieves come into the market to still,” Mutebi added.
The Chairman also raised other challenges such as poor drainage system, high taxes and the cattle being grazed around the market are destroying food commodities in the Market.
Nonetheless, Sylvia Namugenyi, one of the traders said that if the government can fix the Dollar crisis by availing and injecting enough US Dollars into the economy, and to the traders in particular, prices of commodities will reduce in the market.
“What do you expect (other than hiking prices of commodities) If it takes me two or three weeks to get dollars so that I can buy commodities to be sold? Namugenyi questioned.
“This means that there will be scarcity of commodities in the market and hence, high prices, the government should help,” Namugenyi continued.
Meanwhile, Mugabi Rogers, who runs a stall in the Market said that Gumbo Market being the main supplier of majority markets in the City should be facilitated to get the US Dollars easily.
“If we don’t have food items in the market here it means the rest of the markets in the city will suffer,” Mugabi said. “If it could be possible for us to get US Dollars it would be good because there will be constant flow of commodities into the country.”
Gumbo Market is the main supplier of most, if not all, the markets within Juba City and has been in operation for the last three years though its construction took four years. The traders are now seeking the support of the government in easing access to hard currencies.