By Adia Jildo
Small scale traders in Juba are severely hurt and striving to survive with the current inflations rate as prices of food commodity and some non-food steadily increased since dollar rates volleyed high against South Sudanese pounds within a week.
One of the vendors, Poni Josephine who sells juice along the roads said she could not understand what makes market prices increase rapidly.
The mother of two however said the reasons behind inflation hikes, and she blamed on the dollar rate though goods are sold in pounds.
She said the prices have made survival hard as one has to get away to earn and feed the family hence calling on the government to look for solutions to the problem.
“I was told the exchange rate is high and we don’t know how it became high. We don’t even see that dollar they keep talking about,” said Poni.
“We are going to die of hunger if the government does not help us. They know how they will solve this dollar issue, so let them do it,” she said.
Goodwill Charles, a driver for public taxis said the inflation has made livelihood hard, as they take care of the families and all its associated responsibility, forcing a change on the standard of living of his family.
“My children are not eating like before. The money I give is not even enough to buy enough food stuffs in the house. Children end up getting to the street because they are not well kept and fed,” he said.
Goodwill said all his struggle is to enable his children not to get to the streets because of his failure for his responsibility.
“This work we do here does not give us enough money to sustain a living. As a father, I have to pay the tuition of my children but the school administration will chase my children because of incomplete fees,” he said.
He called on the government to enforce a monitoring body to enable same pricing of fuel.
“We ask the government to stand with us and seek a quick solution to the problem of fuel as this would make livelihood a hard thing,” Goodwill said.
Makur Magot Majok, also driver at Munuki Park said the drastic increase of fuel has affected their work as it only brings losses.
“We have to pay 20,000 SSP to the owner of the vehicle yet I have to fill the car with a 20 liter of fuel and at the end of the day will only make 2 rounds of my journey from Munuki to Konyo-Konyo,” he said.
He said they have a chance of increasing the transport fare as there is a possibility of a soar in the price of fuel ahead.
“You, your conductor, family and the owner of the vehicle needs to eat yet also fuel, spare and money for repair is needed. When there is no fuel, we are going to park the cars,” he said.
Makur said despite the provision of service to the community, they are living losses as a way to survive rather than doing none.
“Every time we tell the passengers that we have added the price, some fight us but we tell them to go and ask for the price at the petrol station and ask those who sell there,” he said.
He called on the government to help reduce inflation to enable movement of people and services/foods.
Hassan a motorcyclist at Libya Market said the inflation in the price has made his work failed due to increase in transport fare that he made hence not able to work as before.
“There is no work now because people fear the price we charge. We work not only for the petrol only but also for our survivals so that you can get something that can help you,” he said.
Hassan said he is not able to get the amount he was getting before as this might leave many youth jobless due to the economic hardship which might leave the youth in a stressful life.
Nyoka Jackson a restaurant owner said her business was affected on the day she started her business as rose with a week precipitously from the previous which keeps her into losses.
“Am not able to increase the prices of food here as most of my customers become furious at me when I tell them that I have increased the price of food. Now my customers will all run away if I increase the price,” she said.
She cited failure to have a monitoring body has enabled all people in the market to decide whatever price they would like to charge.
Nyoka urged traders to have reasonable prices in cases of inflation or related factors.
“I urge the government to form a committee to ensure prices of goods are monitored in order for a balanced price in all markets,” she said.
Sarah Jokudu a business woman who sells groundnuts however blamed the inflation on the government citing no monitoring mechanism for prices to ensure a stable price for all to be able to afford a living.
“There is no fixed price. Anybody can put the price of his or her goods because the monitoring bodies are not moving around to know the prices of goods,” she said.
She called on the government to support South Sudanese youth who are struggling with their businesses to ensure their work.