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KUAJOK - 3 May 2021

Kuajok residents protest high commodity prices

The residents of Kuajok town in South Sudan's Warrap State have complained about exorbitant commodity prices despite the South Sudanese Pound gaining against the US Dollar in the last week. 

Angelo Apath Garang, who vends bread at Kuajok Market said the cause of high prices is not the US Dollar but the greed of the people. 

"Our situation is so bad because things are expensive and people say it is because of the Dollar rate but that is not the reason,” Apath said. “It is we, our hearts demand too much. We want prices of things to reduce and it is the responsibility of the government to reduce them so that innocent people who are not working can survive."

According to Apath, even locally produced or sourced items are sold expensively and there is no reason to justify this. He gave the example of meat which sells for 2,000 SSP a kilogram and sorghum which goes for 1,000 SSP yet both are produced within the state. 

Nyanbun Wol, who sells tea in Kuajok Market said she is not happy because sugar and other essential commodities are still expensive. She said people are celebrating the SSP gaining against the US Dollar yet this has not translated into the reduction of prices in the markets. 

Ater Manyuat Ater who sells sorghum flour and sugar in Kuajok said they had started reducing prices.

"We are the same in terms of prices of goods with Juba, Amiet, and Wau. All are selling 50 kg of white sugar at 27,000 SSP the same thing in Kuajok. Brown sugar of Uganda is selling at 26,000 SSP in all the markets I have mentioned. These customers are not telling the truth about prices,'' Manyuat said. 

Although the SSP has gained some value, most traders are skeptical and speculate that it will depreciate again. 

Athayar Muhamed Suleman, a Sudanese trader who deals in clothes in Warrap State said, "In two days now customers are complaining a lot of us selling things at high prices and it was not us. I just reduced a little bit and the prices will reduce slowly when the dollar remains at this stage for 15 days." 

Akech Mayar Akok, the Warrap State Chamber of Commerce chairperson, said prices have started going down and that currently, the exchange rate of the US Dollar to the SSP is 1 to 350.

“Goods are reducing slowly and slowly. Meat was at 3,000 SSP that is one kilo. It has reduced because I called traders of Kuajok town in the last two days and we discussed several issues concerning prices and I thank them because our meeting outcome resulted in the reduction of a kilo of meat from 3,000 SSP to 2,000SSP. The same thing to groundnuts and other things," Mayar said.