Monday, July 22, 2024

Foreign Exchange Rate, Tax Blamed for Hike in Food Commodities

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By: Mama A. Touray

Food vendors in Serrekunda, in an interview with this medium, blamed the hike in food commodities on the high foreign exchange rate and taxes as the Muslim community began Ramadan.

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A shopkeeper told this medium that whenever he complained about the price hike to the distributors, the response he gets is that “the tax is costly and the foreign exchange rate has increased.” In his opinion, the government should take up its responsibility to address the foreign exchange and tax costs, then establish a fixed exchange rate that everyone will follow. Additionally, he suggested that ports should engage in dialogue with businessmen and women to determine how to tax goods effectively.

He lamented that a particular store sells goods at a certain price, and whenever he goes back to restock, the prices have increased, making it difficult for them.

He continued, “As a shopkeeper, you know you are buying these items at a high price, but you have no choice but to buy, and the customers also have no choice but to buy at that high price.”

Muhammed Jallow, who shared a similar opinion, said, “The hike in prices is due to port taxes and the foreign exchange rate. However, this year is different from last year because last year, onions were expensive, but this year, onions are not expensive. The only goods with a price hike are sugar, rice, and mayonnaise.”

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Gaye, a meat seller, said that although the prices of goods have increased, the price of meat has remained constant for over three years. He added that the only reason for increasing meat prices is when the source of the meat becomes expensive, not because of Ramadan.

Another potato and onion seller, who has been selling these vegetables for over ten years, said she is thankful to God this year because the prices of onions and potatoes have decreased compared to last year. She mentioned that this year, she bought a 25kg bag of onions for D1200, and potatoes were also the same price. She noted that even those who used to buy in kilos now buy half a bag.

A vegetable vendor said that low prices are what business people prefer, but if the gardeners choose to sell at a particular price, they are left with no choice but to accept it. She added that in business, there are losses and gains, whether the price of rice increases or not, one will still make a profit or incur losses.

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