There is a widespread public outcry about the magnifying scale of excruciating hardship in the country, characterised by mounting prices of goods and services.
Particularly alarming is the price of the staple food rice, which has jumped rapidly from the range of Le 200,000 to nearly Le 500,000.00 at present per full bag, while the price of half a bag has skyrocketed from a low of below Le 100,000 to above Le 200,000.00.
A cup of rice, the basic unit of measurement now goes for Le 3000.00 while a cup of bulgur is sold at Le 5000.00, an upward movement from slightly under Le 1000.00 for both items.
The locally produced black-eye beans are sold Le 5000.00 per cup from below Le 2000.00. A pint of vegetable oil now costs Le 7000.00 while a pint of locally produced palm oil has risen from slightly above Le 1000.00 to Le 4000.00
A cup of local salt has also gone up from basic Le 500 to Le 2000.00, while a cup of pepper hit a record high of Le 8000.00, although it has fallen down to between Le 2000 to Le 1,500.00.
As the price of food stuffs continue to propel unabated, the price of building materials and services has also correspondingly reached unprecedented high proportions.
While the business sector is becoming demotivated by this escalating trend, the Government does not seem to have the solution to stem the tide, and this has created strong apprehension about looming hunger and economic crises that can culminate into widespread riots.
“If things continue like this, am afraid, the people will go out in the streets”, said Jonathan, a retailer in rice, adding that the price of rice goes up by the day and that it is likely a bag of rice will be sold at Le 1,000,000.00 before the year ends.
It is also speculated that a litter of petroleum products will be raised before the end of the year, which will impact transport fares. Already, public transport is a menace that is plaguing socio-economic activities, coupled with announced shortages of money in the banks.
A bike rider, Mohamed, said he can no longer afford to buy a plate of rice with good sauce, due to the price, adding that a plate of rice without fish is now sold at Le 8,000.00. “This is what I can now afford as the one with fish costs more”, he complained.
Making matters worst is the high rate of unemployment in the country coupled with massive sackings of public servants perceived to be opponents of the ruling party, most of them are yet to receive their terminal benefits, and cannot take care of their families.
By Abdul Kuyateh
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