Commodity Prices are chocking Citizens, CSOs calls upon Government to to act

By our CSO reporter.

The members of the Civil Society Budget Advocacy Group (CSBAG) teamed up on Wednesday to share their perspectives on the Ministerial Policy Statements (MPS) for the FY2022/23, which were tabled in Parliament in accordance with Section 13(13) of the Public Finance Management Act, 2015.The Civil Society Budget Advocacy Group (CSBAG) is a coalition formed in 2004 to bring together CSOs at national and district levels to influence Government decisions on resource mobilization and utilization for equitable and sustainable development. CSBAG was created out of a desire to collectively influence government and effectively participate in setting national budget priorities.

The coalition has gathered after the country’s economy is affected by the rising high prices of essential commodities like cooking oil, laundry bar soap, fuel and other services like transport fare.

“We note that since the re-opening of the economy in January 2022, we have since experienced an increment in commodity prices of up to 100% for some commodities for example laundry bar soap prices increased by 47.8%, cooking oil by 77.6% and fuel by 34% in the last one year. This is partly attributed to the increased demand against the supply/production channels. Much as we have no control on some of these drivers, it is crucial for government to consider strengthening and enforcing current regulations on essential commodities to guard Ugandans against anti-competitive practices. Secondly, parliament needs to expedite the enactment of the Competitive and Consumer Protection Bills.” Civil Society Organisations said in a press release.

Mr Patrick Rubangakene, the Budget Policy Specialist at CSBAG said the Ministerial Policy comes amidst poor economy and high prices of basic needs and asked government to urgently deal with the crisis.

“Government should urgently deal with the increased prices of fuel, commodity prices as soon as yesterday and also start regulating provisions of essential commodities and crack down on those on those holding commodities”. Ruba Patrick said.Patrick also made the recommendation tothe government should adopt statements and opinions of Civil Society Organisations.

Commodity prices countrywide have been rising at a fast rate since January, forcing Ugandans to adjust their budgets in a country that is recovering from the devastating impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.
This means it now costs more to put food on the table and generally provide for a family.
Consumers have to dig deeper into their pockets to buy some of essential goods, whose prices are weighing on the economy’s economic recovery.

In Kampala City, a mini-survey conducted on commodity prices in the five divisions showed that items such as washing soap, Irish potatoes, maize flour, cooking oil, and matooke have more than doubled since January. The prices had stagnated during the same period in the year 2021.
A bar of soap, for instance, costs between Shs8,500 and Shs10,000, up from about Shs3,500 in January. A kilogramme of rice goes for between Shs4,500 and Shs5,000, depending on the type, up from Shs3,000, while that of maize flour (posho) has climbed to Shs3,000 from Shs1,500 in January.

The Executive Director at Food Rights Alliance Mrs Kirabo Agnes said  over 80% of the food Uganda uses is domestic though poor in nutritional balance.
She tasked the government to implement fortification of foods like maize flour ,wheat and milling, and also demands a law to regulate processing foods and regulations of sweetening in beverages and other prossesed foods

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