South Sudan citizens decry skyrocketing prices of basic commodities

Source: Xinhua Published: 2020/9/17 17:33:40

South Sudanese athletes have lunch while maintaining social distancing at Maebashi City Hall in Maebashi, Gunma Prefecture on June 2. Photo: AFP

South Sudan's citizens on Monday decried skyrocketing prices of basic commodities like food due to a deteriorating economic situation.

South Sudan depends on essential commodities imported from neighboring Kenya, Sudan and Uganda.

Moses Lado, a vendor at Jebel market, said that food price hikes had negatively impacted business amid local currency devaluation.

"Prices of food in the market have doubled in the recent past while destabilizing livelihoods, "said Lado.

He said the devaluating local currency has deterred traders from importing cargo, paralyzing the supply chain network, adding that $100 is about 48,000 South Sudanese pounds.

"Life has become hard for me as a trader, it is not easy, and there is no business. I sit from morning to evening without making any sufficient sales unlike last month," said Lado.

Suzan Achol, a female trader, said that 50 kilograms of maize flour is sold at 13,000 South Sudanese pounds ($35), and one kilogram of sugar is retailing at $5.

"The cost of different commodities differs from one market to the other," said Achol.

Kuol Athian, minister of Trade and Industry, said recently that the government had put measures in place to help stabilize the cost of basic commodities.

Salvatore Garang Mabiordit, the minister for Finance and Economic Planning, said that inter-communal skirmishes, natural disasters, and volatility in the global oil market had slowed down economic growth.

"The tax revenues were also significantly affected because of the closure of borders and business with neighboring countries became very slow or at least only relief items were allowed to come," said Garang.

The South Sudan government said in August that it was seeking a $250 million loan from African Export and Import Bank to cushion the economy from disruptions occasioned by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The landlocked country depends entirely on oil to finance its budget, but a reduction in oil production from 185,000 barrels per day (bpd) to 170,000 bpd due to COVID-19 disruptions has negatively impacted revenue generation.

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