Opinion

Government should control skyrocketing water prices

By Emmanuel Loro William

Water is necessary for survival of all living organisms on Earth. Over 60% of our bodies are made up of water. We cannot survive without water in two to three days’ time.

But today the situation has turned out to be different. One drum of water almost costs up to 200 SSP in some areas within Juba, like Gudele residential area, and at any time it can go beyond the current water prices. Time for denying facts is over, taking bitter pills of Truth is better than dying inside by refusing to accept its outcome. Let me ask; is there a total breakdown in the regulatory system?  If not, why is there a state of lawlessness where businessmen and women can wake up the next day and change prices anyhow without fear of the law enforcing agents.

It is time to get serious; we need the intervention of regulatory bodies such as Juba City Council (JCC) with actions and follow-ups inked on papers. Indeed many orders have been issued but ended up just for record purposes.

This time we need to respect the rule of law by rescuing the lives of our citizens who are suffering beyond description in the merciless hands of their brothers and sisters in the business sector.

The nationwide justification now days is hard currency problem, but why is it that when the exchange rate comes down prices still go up.

The government needs to regulate monopoly to protect the interests of consumers. For example, monopolies have the market power to set prices higher than in competitive markets. The government can regulate monopolies through price capping, yardstick competition and preventing the growth of monopoly power.

The government needs to regulate monopolies to prevent excess prices. Without regulations, monopolies could put prices above the competitive equilibrium. This would lead to allocative inefficiency and a decline in consumer welfare.

Quality of service: If a firm has a monopoly over the provision of a particular service, it may have little incentive to offer a good quality service. Government regulation can ensure the firm meets minimum standards of service.

Some industries are natural monopolies – due to high economies of scale, the most efficient number of firms is one. Therefore, we cannot encourage competition, and it is essential to regulate the firm to prevent the abuse of monopoly power.

When South Sudan abandoned its official fixed exchange rate and moved to a floating rate in 2015, since that time the government had lost control over its market, the impact of that decision has affected negatively the low income earners.

Therefore, for future reference analysis, any solution should be viewed from domestic context by looking at the advantages and disadvantages to the common man, not the financial interest of the ruling elite.

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