Prices Of Commodities Continue To Soar In Eastern Equatoria Region

Prices of commodities in Eastern Equatoria region have continued to skyrocket forcing families frustrates and resorting to having a meal a day.

Prices Of Commodities Continue To Soar In Eastern Equatoria Region
Market in Torit [File photo]Market in Torit [File photo]

By Peter Lokale Nakimangole

TORIT, 24 June 2016 [Gurtong] – A 50-Kilogram bag of sugar which used to cost 500 SSP now goes for more than 2,000 South Sudanese Pounds (SSP), while a 50 Kilogram bag of maize flour has risen from 700 SSP to 1,500 SSP.

These prices in various markets across Eastern Equatoria region vary from market to market in the region depending with accessibility of the commodities.

Elsewhere in Kapoeta and Torit towns, a 50-Kilogram bag of Sorghum, which used to cost 550 SSP, is now selling at 750 SSP.

Meanwhile, a 50-Kilogram of rice, one of the consumers' essential commodities is currently sold at 1,8400 SSP from the initial plan 850 SSP while a 20-litre of jerry can of cooking oil has increased to 1,400 SSP from 900 SSP.

Prices of other commodities like beans, onions, meat, among others are too being sold at abnormal prices with the local consumers describing it as a terrible moment that has continued to worsen in the country.

Citizens have appealed to the government to intervene and find a solution to the problem especially during the holy month of Ramadhan.

Most of the commodities consumed and sold in the local markets are imported from the neighbouring countries and the traders have complained of incurring losses in transporting them (commodities) due to poor roads and high cost of fuel including the scarcity of the dollar.

The South Sudan annual Consumer Price Index (CPI) increased by 58.7% from August 2014 to August 2015, according to the South Sudan National Bureau of Statistics report released in September 2015. The increase was mainly driven by high prices in food and non‐alcoholic beverages.

Unexpected rises in CPI, which is also used to calculate inflation, can lead to falling bond prices, rising interest rates, and increased market volatility.

The state Chairperson of Commerce in Torit, Lily Hidita Nartiso charges the government to address the issue pertaining enough dollars' supply to traders to enable them purchase enough commodities especially food items.

She complains that last year, the Letters of Credit (LCs) ended up in wrong hands as individuals misused the LCs in the expenses of the country's population who suffer great deal.

Though the government has been blamed of reluctance to seek cheaper alternatives to fix the current issue, they have said that they are working around the clock to see to it that the matter is resolved.

"For their information, we have never spent nights in peace. We are disturbed with problems of failing to get appropriate response globally regarding the humanitarian aid for civilians, leave alone putting measures related to price stabilization. We never sleep in peace, our citizens need to know that..." expressed a government official in the office of the state Secretariat of the Governor who preferred to speak on condition of anonymity.

The on-going prolonged dry spell that began right from April, May and now June with irregularities of rainfalls across the region and beyond, have failed crop germination processes.

Many citizens are disappointed saying their cultivation period together with a few seed varieties have been wasted already, thus this year’s produce may be less than expected.
Many residents, some of whom are government employees, have expressed regrets that their children have already abandoned attending school because of low income.

They appeal to the government to urgently find alternative solutions, otherwise things may worsen further.
 

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