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A market in Yambio, Western Equatoria State

Prices of basic goods in South Sudan highest now in country’s history

By Leila Osman

Fish is one of the most expensive commodities in South Sudan’s capital Juba that’s because they are transported from remote areas or imported from other countries especially from Uganda according to traders.

Kamal Ali, a trader that we met in Konyokonyo market says the business has become more difficult now.

“There are gains and losses in business and this means that the government comes in to solve the problem of dollars and reduce our work to make it work. We used to do well, we built a house, got married, but now it’s just for the kids and we don’t have the profits we used to have!” Said Kamal.

The Effects of the high price is seen on  daily necessities too, as observed from ‘’Suk Yei’’ a small market within customs market.

Hadiya Martin a market vendor says buyers are shying away from the market because commodities have become very expensive.

‘’ A sack of yams was at 40,000 South Sudanese Pounds (SSP), when the dollar rose (USD), it’s now at 60,000SSP, the bigger yam is 1500SSP and the smallest is 500SSP” Said Hadiya. 

Our market analysis shows that prices are also increasing due to high taxes and the fluctuation in the exchange rate for the US Dollars.

One market vendor Rose Tabu said, “ what are we working for, we are working on a loss, the government is taking everything, tax, no profit”

Other key reasons for the rise in the price for necessities like peanuts are issues like immigration, taxes and transportation.

Even the vehicles (transportation) take a lot of money. This makes selling these things highly expensive and the burden goes to the customers.

Jaclyn Sadhia who is a trader at Jebel Market said “I used to travel on the road but I see a lot of obstacles, so I now wait for someone to bring it here.As I buy the goods from the retailer who puts the price higher, we can’t help but the buyer has to pay for the cost”

Mama Rhodha Fauzia another market vendor said “We are looking for inexpensive goods so we can feed our children. Please reduce the prices so we can send our children to school. Now all our children are indiscipline most of them are on the street because nothing good is from them. Now our children are running with niggers, killing each other and stealing and don’t listen because there is nothing good”

The government says the sharp currency depreciation to the dollar is a global issue.

It says it has through the central bank (The bank of South Sudan) been auctioning US dollars to commercial banks to strengthen the local currency.

Here is the development of the exchange rate for the last six months.

The dollar rate was stable until May. In August the dollar rate went to historical all time high affecting businesses, consumers and various activities that is transacted using the dollar.

In September the government started to auction dollars to the various commercial banks and Forex bureaus. As a result the sharp depreciation of SSP reversed.

The consumer price index is also showing signs of decline but still remains high. The government says that intervention in the Foreign Exchange market is not enough to stabilize supply.

“Local production should be a priority. Poor infra structure is hindering trade and business. The government is doing assessment on the market to  find the challenges.””

Sensitizing people on free market economy and removal of all obstacles that impede trade are key to a stable economy.

Developing local production to reduce the cost of doing business and developing infrastructure, is needed.Leila Osman, SSBC News.

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