In its efforts to protect consumers from being exploited, the Gambia government has introduced price control measures on essential commodities.
The introduction of Commodities Emergency Powers Regulations 2020 comes on the heels of price hikes of essential commodities resulting to panic buying in the West African nation. Price hikes, panic buying and hoarding are the offshoots of the deadly Coronavirus epidemic, which has killed over 17,000 globally.
“The wholesale and retail prices of all essential commodities are hereby frozen to the prices they were sold in the open market as at 18th March 2020 as specified in the schedule to Essential Commodities Emergency Powers Regulations, 2020,” the government press statement stated.
The new regulation covers rice, maize, millet, flour, sugar, milk, bread, chicken, eggs and meat, fish, cooking oil, potatoes, onions, tomatoes paste, cement, soap and hand sanitisers.
Under the new regulation, it is illegal to hoard any essential commodity in either shape or form and that wholesalers, retailers or their employees shall not refuse to sell these commodities. Besides, it is illegal to export any essential commodity or petroleum related products outside the country. Commodities control committee has been established to supervise the enforcement of the new regulation. The committee members include officials from Ministry of Trade Ministry, Gambia Revenue Authority and the Inspector General of Police.
It could be recalled that the Gambia last enforced price control in the mid-80s.