South Sudan trade lobby says cost of basic commodities has spiked amid inflation

South Sudanese Pound
South Sudanese Pound

A South Sudan business lobby said Thursday that the cost of basic commodities and services had increased 25 percent over the last two months, amid inflationary pressure on citizens.

Robert Pitia Francis, the chairperson of Central Equatoria State Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Agriculture, said the increase in the price of goods and services in the country was caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, high taxation imposed on traders by different state agencies and volatility in the global oil market.

“Some of the traders are capitalizing on goods, once people have goods in the stores they start increasing prices and because there is COVID-19, there is no movement and that prices have not yet come down, it is stuck there,” Pitia said at a briefing in Juba, the capital of South Sudan.

He said that hoarding by unscrupulous traders and the declining value of the South Sudanese pound had also contributed to the spike in the cost of basic commodities, adding that harmonization of tax policy was key to taming inflation.

The central bank of South Sudan reduced its weekly foreign currency auction to 5 million U.S. dollars from 13 million U.S. dollars last month, a move that led to a sharp fall in the local currency and a rise in the prices of basic goods in the market.

Some traders in Juba agreed with Pitia, saying that multiple taxation and scarcity of the dollars to import goods to the country are to blame for the unfolding inflation in the world’s youngest republic. They also revealed that since the prices of goods increased, their sales revenues have drastically reduced.

The residents of Juba said the inflation has made life very difficult amid the inability to make ends meet, with several people admitting that they were being forced to reduce the number of meals they consume per day. Enditem

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