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Published On: Thu, Mar 14th, 2024

Minister Joof Affirms Government’s Hands-Off Approach to Price Regulation on Essential Commodities

Baboucarr Ousmaila Joof, the Minister for Trade, Industry, Regional Integration and Employment, has emphasized that the government takes a hands-off approach to regulating prices of essential commodities like rice, oil, and sugar. He stated that such measures would be counterproductive and go against the principle of a free market system. The evidence shows that price control does not ensure price stability but rather leads to hoarding and shortages of goods and services.

Mr. Joof highlighted that the government’s focus is on ensuring that essential food commodities are adequately available and accessible at reasonable prices. To achieve this, continuous monitoring of prices at the stock level of essential commodities is conducted weekly, and engagement with players in the market is done to ensure market sanity.

The Trade Minister further explained that The Gambia maintains a free market economy policy and a liberal trading environment where prices of goods and services are determined by market forces. The government is aware of its responsibility to protect consumers from market failures and anti-competitive practices.

Baboucarr Joof emphasized that addressing various factors that contribute to price increases is crucial before prices can go down. He mentioned that meetings with the business community aim not only to bring prices down but also to address other important matters on a regular basis.

Mr. Joof stated, “The government adopts the principle of engagement and dialogue, along with the use of competition and consumer protection legislation, to deal with anti-competitive practices in markets. These approaches have proven to be impactful, leading to relatively low commodity prices in The Gambia compared to neighboring countries.”

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