The Gambia Government through the Ministries of Trade and Industry and Finance and Economic Affairs held a joint stakeholder meeting yesterday with major importers of essential commodities and seriously discussed issues over the rising prices of essential goods.

During the ministerial meeting, The Gambia Government acknowledged the external circumstances emanating from the COVID-19 pandemic and the current situation in Ukraine as significant economic factors affecting the global supply chain. While that is true, The Government expressed concern over the recent increment of prices of basic commodities in the domestic market. Government notes that this pattern is disproportionately getting frequent and warns that such brutal daily retail price increases are totally unacceptable.

Specifically, there is worrisome evidence of multiple price increases of a commodity within the day (price of the same commodity costing, say D100 in the morning and rises to D125 in the evening within the same locality). This behavior is an example of price gouging which is not in line with the principle of free market economics.

Consumers should not be taken advantage of in these challenging times particularly, as we approach the Holy month of Ramadan. Government has not increased any duty or taxes relating to these essential commodities and expects the retailers to be reasonable in their pricing and failure to comply may require Government to deploy tools to address the anomaly.

Government through GRA, GCCPC and other state security apparatus will embark on a strong monitoring of retail prices to ensure that consumers are not exploited. The Gambia Government is therefore, calling on all the retailers of essential commodities to be fair in their pricing failing which shall result in the prosecution of violators under the Competition Act, 2007.

Members of the public are assured of Government’s continued commitment in ensuring that essential commodities are available and affordable to the population. In attendance were representatives of The Gambia Revenue Authority (GRA), The Gambia Ports Authority (GPA), The Gambia Competition & Consumer Protection Commission (GCCPC), as well as representatives of Clearing and Shipping Agencies.