By Mustapha Jarju
Vendors at the Brikama Market have decried the price increment of wholesale of basic commodities as the Holy Month of Ramadan starts today.
Vendors speaking in a pre-Ramadan sales interview with The Voice newspaper yesterday stated that their business is not running as expected due to the high prices of basic commodities and increment in the foreign exchange.
Speaking to this reporter, Mainuna Bah, a shop owner in Brikama market who sells basic food products like onion, cooking oil, potato, cooking ingredients, and others said, “as we are getting into Ramadan the prices of basic food commodities have increased.”
Madam, Bah said, “even onions that are grown in the country are expensive because 45% of local onions are now costing D2,500 which we used to buy for D1,700. This morning (yesterday) I bought a bag of imported potatoes for D1,000 which was D800 but now you have to buy it for D1,050 or D1,000 last price.”
She further revealed that the price of cooking oil, too, is skyrocketing it is from D1,800 to D2,200, there is no control over prices and it is affecting our business because we are not selling as expected due to the increase in prices of the items.
“We always try to convince our clients and some will comply with us while others would leave upon realizing increment of price of certain commodities, and the government should come to our aid,” she stated.
Alagie Ceesay also a basic food vendor and a resident of Brikama Sanchaba said, he sells cooking oil, Jumbo, Palm Oil, and among other cooking ingredients.
He said there is an increment of prices over all the items “most especially cooking oil which he said, used to be D750 but now costs nothing less than D2,000” and if he is to resell it he will sell it at D2,050.
“In my observation, this year`s Ramadan foodstuff are cheaper than last year’s because last year around Ramadan period vegetable oil costing D2,500 and not less than D2,100 but this year the business is not moving as expected because everyone is complaining that there is no money,” he stated.
He added that price hike and lack of customers is affecting their business, especially at the start of Ramadan.
Sonah Bojang also a vendor said, since she starts selling as a basic food vendor what she is experiencing this year is different from the past years, as she has never experienced poor sales like this year in her basic foodstuff career, saying even jumbo which three cubes cost D5 is now costing D10.
“Black pepper is now D7,500 this is never its price potato imported from Senegal I used to buy it for D1,300 but now I buy that for D2,500 and I resell it for D3000 which is mainly caused by the increment of CFA currency into Gambian Dalasi,” Sonna said.
She disclosed that some of them are taking loans to manage the business and this becomes difficult for them to pay back while some people will find it difficult to get the loan too because paying back is another problem.