Markets in Juba remain shaken as inflation overtakes economy

By Bida Elly David

Weekend commodity price hike has drawn attention of destitute families as most of them said they have resorted to buying substitute goods to feed their families since sky rocketing price discrimination has overpowered their purchasing power.

According to the weekend market update carried by No.1.citizen daily newspaper, South Sudanese are still bracing commodity soar as the local currency South Sudanese Pounds (SSP) remains at depreciating point against dollar since the exchange rate in the black market lurches at 810 per 1 dollar from 800 as it used to be.

Analysis reveals that Consumers will now have to invest efforts to resort into substitute and complementary goods ad their pockets drain to meet purchasing power to buy some of crucial goods as the economy remains shaken.

Speaking to No.1.citizen daily newspaper on Saturday, Mary Alawiya a customer at Kony-Kony market said that she has altered her meal plans by substituting beef with fish since she could not afford to buy 1 kg of beef since it shot to 6000 SSP over the weekend.

“For me, I have realized that what can replace beef is fish since it is cheaper according to my meal plan of the week. On Saturday, 1kg of beef was 6000 ssp compared to last week when I bought it at 5000 SSP. Fish of 2000 SSP can have lunch for my family,’’ she said

Moreover, No.1 Citizen Daily Newspaper established that maize flour of 50kg bag that sold at SSP 31,000 previously over the weekend sold at 33,000 SSP, while a 20 liters jerry can of cooking oil that used to be at SSP 22,000 is now being sold at SSP 24,000 SSP

Further report viewed that Sugar of 50kg bag for instance was SSP 38,000 but currently it is SSP 40,000, a sack of lentils could be purchased at SSP 24,000 and it’s hiked to SSP 27,000, while beans increased from SSP 56,000 to SSP 58,500 per 50kg bag.

Similarly, rice that used to sell at SSP 13,500, is currently selling at SSP 15,000, onion was SSP 19,000 but now sells at SSP 22,000 meanwhile box of soap has jumped from SSP 13,500 to SSP 15,000 but under price discrimination

Formerly, Stephen Wani Aquilino, the Chairperson of Juba City Chamber of Commerce moaned that the increment in commodities’ prices was due to high demand of dollar and depreciation of the South Sudanese Pounds.

According to Robert Pitia, the chairperson of Central Equatoria State Chamber of commerce, the inflation has been due to the global crisis that affected the economy as well as the high taxes imposed on merchants.

 “Increasing official rate and high taxes are some of the contributing factors because by increasing the rate every day that tantamount to increasing the rate of black market” Pitia said

 Pitia furthermore predicted persistent increment will arise unless Central Bank jointly with the chamber of commerce at the national or state level intervene into the market.

He said that empowering domestic traders and international monopolists to reduce prices through tax exemption policy would help restore the recessed economy.

Pitiya demonstrated pity to final consumers amid shifting from main commodities to substitute goods being one of the solutions to replace their main dishes.

He also called on citizens to remain calm adding that with peace the country can be stable and economic strength can be regained. 

He further revealed that when foreign traders at wholesale want to increase the prices they agree among themselves to hide essential good until when it became scarce in the market then price automatically raise.

The shopkeeper advised the government to empower local traders and also make sure such unethical trading by foreigners is brought to an end.

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