The Gambian government, through the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Regional Integration, and the Gambia Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GCCI) has struck a negotiation with the major importers of sugar into the country, to ensure the availability and affordability of the commodity, especially during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.
The negotiation followed an intensive two-week discussion between GCCI and importers of sugar.
According to sources at the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Regional Integration office in Banjul, the parties expressed commitment to ensure that the needs of the common citizenry were guaranteed and their concerns taken into consideration, PANA reported from here Wednesday. . The major importers of sugar, four major trading enterprises: Syben A. Madi & Sons Enterprise, Gam Food Trading, Tajco Limited and EM Kay Enterprise, said they were all expecting a ship laden with containers of sugar to dock at the Banjul Port later this week and will start the distribution and sale of the commodity, both retail and wholesale, in their various outlets.
They also said they had taken note of the entreaty made to them by the ministry to consider the plight of the people and so they have all agreed to peg the price of a bag of sugar at D1, 250 per bag (about US$ 45).
Hassan Akar, a representative from the Gam Food Trading Company, said: “We believe that there is a shortage of sugar, which is already a global problem, but I would like to tell the citizens of The Gambia not to panic, there is a lot of sugar coming into the country; we just have delay in shipment. We are expecting 50 containers, which is about 1,350 metric tons of sugar by Saturday (14 Aug.) and we will be selling it at D1, 250 per bag.”
Hassan Tydixn of Tajco Limited, said: “by next Saturday, we are expecting 45 containers and before the end of the month, we will receive 50 containers, people should not be worried, there is sugar coming and we will all sell at the same price.”
Peter Aziz of Shyben A. Madi & Sons and Nandur Raguan, from EM Kay Limited both expressed similar sentiments.
The importers asserted that they will be opening both retail and wholesale outlets in Banjul and the West Field junction, to ensure sugar is made available to consumers.
Raguan disclosed that his company has 1,500 bags of sugar in stock, which will be available for sale from Thursday at their West Field store.
The Minister of Trade, Industry and Regional Integration, Yusupha Kah, said they deemed it necessary to persuade the importers of not only sugar but also other basic commodities, to ensure that there is constant availability of such commodities at reasonable prices because it is their responsibility to ensure that the needs of the citizens are met.
He explained that government does not set commodity prices because its economic policy demands that market forces freely dictate it, expressing joy that a reasonable compromise was reached among the parties.
Kah further stated that the shortage of sugar is a global problem, adding that as at now, Brazil is the only exporter of the commodity and the demand is high.
Abdoul Salaam Secka, the chief executive officer of GCCI, expressed gratitude that they were able to partner the ministry in addressing a pressing national issue.