Mr. President, I hope this open letter finds you well. I am writing to bring to your attention the current situation in our country regarding the increasing prices of goods and services. As an average citizen, I feel it is important for you to hear how the people are struggling to make ends meet.
I came across an article in The Voice newspaper on August 31st, 2023, quoting Governor Buah Saidy of the Central Bank of The Gambia (CBG), stating that food inflation has increased from 23.5% to 24.9% between June to July of this year. Inflation rates are increasing due to the high prices of food and adjustments in electricity and water tariffs that took effect in April of this year. According to the article, headline inflation rose to 18.4% in July 2023, up from 17.8% in June 2023. Although CBG is trying to curb inflation, it seems that the situation is only getting worse.
This is a concerning issue for low-income earners, people below the poverty line, and those who are jobless. Most salary earners have a fixed income that does not increase with inflation, making it difficult for the average Gambian to afford necessities such as rice, sugar, bread, fish, fruits, and vegetables. I recently visited Tanji to purchase fish for my family, but unfortunately, I was unable to buy it due to the high prices and limited availability. I was informed by the firemen that the Chinese fishing trawlers are causing harm to our waters, which is contributing to the problem. I urge you to visit Tanji to see firsthand the struggles Gambians are facing.
Furthermore, it seems that many young people have lost hope in our country, as evidenced by the long queues at the Gambia Immigration Department’s passport unit. Most of those acquiring passports are young people who are planning to leave the country with no intention of returning home. Some of my friends who left for their Ph.D. and master’s degree programs in America and Europe have confirmed that they have no plans of returning home anytime soon.
I have faith in your administration to fix the nation and prevent such situations from occurring in the future. To avoid further inflation, it is essential to take strict action against hoarding and profiteering of essential items. Corruption and bribery must be rooted out to create a better country. While I look forward to your action on this matter, please accept the assurance of my consideration.
Saidina Alieu Jarjou