National, News

Gov’t unveils measures to control prices

By Kidega Livingstone


National Ministry of Trade and Industry and its line institutions have unveiled measures to control the runaway inflation characterized by the weakening of the South Sudanese Pounds, triggering commodity price hikes in the markets.

In recent days, the populace, including government officials, witnessed a staggering increase in market prices due to the further appreciation of the US dollar against the South Sudanese pound, sending some poor families near death.

As of yesterday, the official bank exchange rate was SSP 1,289 per dollar, while the black market stood at SSP 1,450 per dollar.

The economic situation has greatly affected ordinary citizens because they couldn’t afford the high commodity prices in the markets.

The National Minister of Trade and Industry, William Anyuon Kuol, said during a press conference that the ministry and officials from the Department of Prices Control Unit, came up with alternatives to reduce the high prices in the market.

“As we face the issue of high prices, there were some resolutions that were made, and one of the resolutions is that the government should also resume checking themselves on fuel-related issues because they are becoming one of the things affecting our markets,” Anyuon told the media after a meeting yesterday.

“We also started renewing letters of credit to our traders so that it can be easy for them to import the goods that we need in the country at cheaper prices,” he continued.

He expressed that the government would encourage the local traders to also participate and be creative in markets by giving them microfinance to support them so that they could do business.

“It is also agreed that there should be the empowerment of local bodies that regulate the prices. This came as a result of initiatives that have been taken by the Ministry of Trade and Finance to make sure that they established a unit that controls the prices in the markets,” Kuol stated.

He underscored that the price regulatory body would give feedback on daily price control in the markets,” he said.

The trade minister further said bodies that will include officials from the Chambers of Commerce, the National Bureau of Statistics, and the National Bureau of Standards would deal with the issue of free markets that allow everybody to flood the markets.

“There should be regulation by establishing the body that controls the selling of goods in the markets; there is no market that can be free; the government has to control it,” he echoed.

Mr. Kuol warned that any trader who will not comply with orders should not be kept within the country, saying what other traders are doing in South Sudan isn’t in other countries.

“We are serious about this, and the government is going to make sure that the prices are controlled,” he vowed.

He revealed that the auctions by the Central Bank should be discouraged, citing that instead of an auction, the money should be given directly to business people to avoid some individuals taking the dollars from the commercial banks and forex bureaus for their own benefit because they take it from the bank and sell it at the rate of black markets.

The minister further warned traders against unnecessary increases in prices in the markets once the dollar shot up.

“I take this opportunity to warn traders who exploit such situations and advise them to reduce the abnormal price increase in the market while the government of South Sudan, especially the concerned institutions, work on the issue”, he echoed.

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