By Fatou Saho
Trade Minister, Baboucarr O. Joof, has said the price of sugar is projected to continue escalating in 2024, as a result of inflation in sugar price at the international level.
Addressing a press conference on Friday, the minister highlighted that sugar was the most affected by inflation and restrictive trade measures, from both developed and developing countries.
“The international price of sugar increased from 0.80 USD in January 2023 to 1.10 by December 2023, representing an increase of 38%, and it is projected to keep increasing in 2024. This increment in the international price of sugar was reflected in domestic prices, which in turn increased from D2, 206 to D2, 725 by the last quarter of 2023”, Minister Joof explained.
However, he noted that 2023 was a difficult year for the Least Developed Countries like The Gambia, and lamented that the global economy is still recovering from the aftermath of COVID-19, and the war in Ukraine, which he said has exerted inflationary pressure on the prices of essential commodities.
The minister had also highlighted that consumer goods such as cement, rice, tomato paste, onion, flour, potatoes, edible oil and chicken, are goods sensitive to price hikes.
The minister outlined that the price of rice has been high in the international market throughout the year, but the price of rice in the Gambia remains respectively stable throughout the year.
Efforts put in place
Minister Joof said trade restrictive measures do not help the situation, as “they disrupt the global supply chain with upward pressure on.
“To reduce pressure on prices, the Ministry took a number of measures including access to priority berthing of vessels carrying essential commodities to avoid demurrage charges that may add to prices in the markets”, he stated.