14 January 2013

Gambia: Price Hikes - Cause for Concern


We are very much concerned about the current state of escalation of prices of basic commodities in the country, a situation that requires urgent remedial measures.

Even though the Gambia Revenue Authority, GRA has made it very clear that the recent escalation of prices of goods and foodstuffs, that has gripped the nation in the wake of the introduction of the Value Added Tax (VAT) cannot and should not be linked to the introduction of VAT, many businesspeople, especially middlemen, are claiming that the price hikes is linked to the introduction of VAT.

We do know that even though the purpose of any business is to make a profit, it should not be used as an excuse to keep the poor masses in the stranglehold of exploitation for the selfish interest of a few.

The prices of staples like rice, vegetable oil, bread, and fish and many other items have over the past few weeks increased at an unprecedented level.

This is very alarming and unacceptable, thus requires remedial measures to rescue the country's majority poor.

We are calling on the GRA to intensify their sensitization efforts using both the private and public media in various forms to sensitize the business community about the misconceptions surrounding the VAT.

The recent escalation of prices of essential goods and services in the country is making life difficult for ordinary Gambians.

Unemployed people and low salary earners are the hard hit, while the few wealthy people might not be feeling it much.

What even makes the situation more worrying is that when you buy something from the market or shop today, when you go to buy it in the next few days, you will be surprised to see an increase.

We are, therefore, calling on the relevant authorities, especially the Ministry of Trade and Industry, to also play a lead role in this difficult moment in Gambian history.

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