By Hassan Arun Cosmas
Citizens in Yei River County of Central Equatoria State decry over increased of food commodities prices in the market.
Yesterday, authorities reported that all prices have shot high both food and non-food commodities in late February and early month of March.
Christina Betty, concerned citizen said that the commodity prices dramatically increased and criticized traders for increasing prices of goods. She urged the traders to normalize prices for the common citizen to afford buying.
“We use to buy goods at a low cost for example, a bar of soap was sold at 300ssp but now has gone to four hundred fifty and others selling it at 500ssp.we wonder what is contributing to the hiking of the prices. all food and none food items have shot high. we wonder how we can manage our families if it continues like this.we call on the traders to look into the situation of the suffering vulnerable people because it is now beyond our capacities,” she testified.
She added that as vendors it is difficult to purchase goods due to the high transport cost to the markets. She accused traders of fixing prices at that their own wills in the market.
“Surely, things have gone worst. All commodities are hiking. Both food and none food items have gone high. It is becoming difficult for us as vendors to afford buying in order to retail. Our roads are not good, if we want to go to the rural markets like Ombasi or Mugwo, transport is expensive ,our money goes all on transport. Let the government intervene because in the market, every trader has his or her own price,” Rose regretted.
Retailer Bismarck Batali Joseph expressed disappointment that the increase of commodity prices reduced customers due to high prices.
He urged wholesalers to reduce prices for the market to match the interest of the consumers.
Batali requested the chamber of commerce to look into the matter seriously together with the revenue authority mainly on taxation of traders.
“Customers are all complaining. Most of them ask the prices and goes because it is expensive and they can’t afford. They wanted us to reduce the prices of commodities but how can we reduce when we bought expensively. If the whole sellers reduce their prices, the retailers will also reduce to shoot the interest of the common citizens. My message is that let the government assess the reason of the increase of prices of goods. If it is because of high taxation, let them reduce over taxation so that the price normalizes,” the retailer encouraged.
In response to the cry of the buyers, Yei River county Chamber of Commerce chairman Luate Justine admitted the increase in commodities prices.
He attributed the increase of the prices to high fuel price that increased the cost of transport and unstable price of the united state dollars against the South Sudan pounds.
Luate advised his fellow business men and women
“For sure, a price of items in the market has gone high. One of they reasons, is the increase in fuel price which has made transport to be high and secondly if you can remember last week there has been an increase in the dollar that has never been stable. The only possibility is that maybe we can talk to the traders however, the reason of the increment is very clear. Transport has gone very high everywhere even Uganda where the supplies come from, prices have gone high because of the fuel increment and even here in the ground, the government taxes rate has also gone high both the national state and county revenue. Therefore, you cannot force a trader to sell at a price that brings loses. Prices are always determined by the expenses,” Justine explained.
In February some consumers and small-scale business operators accused traders of double dealing in businesses such as wholesale and retailing leading to fluctuation of prices of commodities in markets.