By Yankuba Jallow
The Gambia Government has announced that cement is now put in the category of essential goods as a mechanism to control the continuous hike in the price of cement.
The announcement was made on the 1st April 2021 by the Ministry of Trade in line with the Essential Commodities Act enacted by the National Assembly in 2015 which serves to ensure that, in the interest of the general public, the importation, distribution and retailing of essential commodities in the country is regulated to ensure its availability at fair and reasonable prices.
The Ministry indicated in the release that they have conducted series of consultation with relevant stakeholders and it was confirmed that there is a disproportional increase in retail and wholesale prices of cement. The price of cement ranges from D265 to D285 while the retail price used to range from D240 to D400 over the past few weeks.
In the new regulation by the Government, cement will now cost D285 for wholesale price and D305 for retail price.
The Government warns that persons found selling cement above capped prices will be subjected to the full penalty of the law as stipulated in the Consumer Protection Act.
Government has asked all traders (importers, distributors and major retailers) of cement to obtain license with immediate effect in line with the Essential Commodities Act.
Major traders in cement were approached for comments on what was responsible for the hike in the price of cement. Their response was that the buyers used to increase the price. However, they said they believe the new regulation will address the problem.