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WAU - 15 Feb 2021

Wau residents complain of rising food prices

Residents of Wau town of Western Bahr el Ghazal state have complained that the prices of consumer goods and food items have risen sharply in the area, increasingly making life difficult.

They also blame the state government for failing to control market prices. 

Several residents who spoke to Radio Tamazuj last week urged their government to control market prices so that people can afford basic needs.

One such resident who identified herself only as Catherine for security purposes said, "The prices in the markets are the worst and if you don't have enough money you cannot buy anything. For instance, if you have 500 SSP you want to buy meat, a butcher will ask you to add 200 SSP more or you go home without meat,” she said.

Another resident, Eliza, urges the state chamber of commerce to work to normalize the prices of goods in the market so that people can afford them. 

“Locals who are suffering due to this economic hardship cannot make it to survive in such a horrible situation; I am calling on the traders union and the government to stabilize the prices because we cannot survive in such a situation,” she said.

Simon Arkangelo said it was unfortunate that trades increase prices at will without any regulations. 

“Now you cannot sue a trader, they have money and even if you filed a case against a trader for increasing the prices of goods, he or she can pay lots of money to the police and he will be set free. The people who earn little income are suffering,” he said.

Another resident of Hai Salam in Wau town who preferred anonymity said he blamed the municipality for not stating the prices on each item in the market, saying it will encourage any local to take-up a case against any trader found of increasing prices for certain goods.

“They should tell the citizens that prices in the market will be in this range. They should tell citizens that if any trader raises prices then one can open a case against him or her. But we are not aware, how will this happen and how citizens will know their rights,” he stressed.

Two weeks ago, the residents of Raja County also expressed concern over increasing prices of food items and other local products following floods in the area. 

Waballah Abakar, a resident in the area said that there is an increment of prices in Raja markets compared to the previous time.

“One kilogram of sugar is 700 SSP, one Kilogram of Dura is 1,200 SSP and one Kilogram of beef is 1,000 while one kilogram of goat meat costs 1,200 SSP,’’ Abakar said.

Santino Kornelio, the acting Raja Commissioner also confirmed that the only challenge facing people in Raja is the skyrocketing of market prices.

He further stated that the poor harvest witnessed last year was due to pests and other crop diseases.

Wol Charles, the chairperson for the chamber of commerce in Western Bahr el Ghazal State asked traders to avoid overpricing commodities in the markets.

According to a recent pricing update conducted by Radio Tamazuj in Wau markets last week, prices of basic commodities witnessed significant increments since the beginning of the year.

A 50-kilogram bag of sugar now costs 30,000 SSP from 22,000SSP, a 50-kilogram bag of flour is 24,000 SSP from 21,000 SSP, a 20-liter jerrican of cooking oil now goes for 20,000 SSP from 16,000 SSP, the survey revealed. 

However, Western Bahr el Ghazal State Governor Sarah Cleto Hassan said she was not aware of any complaints over commodity prices.

I have no comment now until I investigate where this report is coming from. I have to investigate first because I didn’t see any complaints and I have been in touch with the chamber of commerce,” said the governor. 

Meanwhile, the civil activist in WBG State, Stephen Robo Musa said, "the control of market prices is a responsibility of government because they have security organs that can monitor the market."