By Tabora Bojang
The Ministry of Trade has issued a stern warning to business owners against hiking prices of basic food commodities, in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak, which is recently confirmed in The Gambia.
Since the confirmation of the first reported case in The Gambia, there has been wide spread fear of economic disruptions on food supply prompting people to stock up basic commodities like rice.
It was also reported that the price of rice and other basic commodities has hiked since the country confirmed its first case Tuesday.
“The business community is hereby warned not to use the current situation to exploit the consumers by boarding, hiking prices and other anti competitive practices which are all illegal under the laws of the Gambia. The ministry will use all its surveillance mechanisms to closely monitor the situation and anybody found wanting will face the full force of the law,” the ministry said in a statement.
The Ministry further reassured consumers that contrary to “high speculations of low stocks of essential food commodities” there is adequate stock of all essential food commodities of two months average consumption level and hence no cause for panic.
It said the stocks of rice with the major importers in the country stood at 18, 214 metric tons and the expected stock for next week is estimated at 20,000 metric tons.
The ministry urged the public to refrain from panic buying and continue their normal market transactions.
According to the ministry, prices of all essential commodities have remained stable with the exception of the Horse Brand rice which has increased from D1400 to D1600 due to a surge in demand.