Based on the investigations carried out yesterday in one of the largest South Sudanese market of Konyokonyo in Juba by the Ministry’s senior staff, it was found that traders are cheating consumers with bogus commodity quantities.
The team from the Ministry picked some bags of flour imported from Uganda at random both labelled 50 and 25 kilograms and weighed them . However, on contrary when measured, it was found that the bags contained lesser quantities.
In another shop, two bags of 50 kilograms of flour were picked at random and measured. It was found that one of the bags weighed 35 kilograms.
“We are warning the traders that if they continue with the scam, we will take measures against them,” Mary Gordon, Director General for Standard and Meteorology cautioned while delivering a statement to the press.
“We are alerting the public that wherever you’re buying something make sure that the commodity is of the right weight,” she added.
“The whole idea of a free market economy is not for you to just sell the way you want. There are regulations for that. If there are abundant goods then the prices should decrease,” Mary stressed.
Meanwhile, the traders blamed the government departments of taxation and customs for not doing thorough inspections at the border points to ensure that imported goods are of the required standards.
“We don’t go to Uganda, it’s the Ugandan exporters who bring these goods here and we just buy from them in wholesale, we can’t tell if they are less or not,” Shamani Hamed told Gurtong.
He explained that, they sell 50 and 25kgs of the flour at 95 and 48 South Sudanese Pounds (SSP) respectively. However, this is contrary according to Gurtong’s findings. A 25kgs bag of flour is sold at SSP 55 and 50kgs is sold at SSP 130 in the market.
Other goods in the market involved in the scam include cooking oil, beans, onions, soaps, fuel among others.
Mr. John Pangui, Director General for Planning at the Ministry has warned fuel, petrol, paraffin and diesel traders to reduce their prices. He also said that according to their findings, a litre of petrol has illegally increased to from 4 to 6 SSP.
“We are warning all the petrol stations to reduce their fuel prices. This is not the right price. We have checked the prices in Kenya and we realize that they are charging us triple compared to the buying price,” Panguicautioned .
The South Sudan Government’s role to ensure standard and quality goods and services are imported to the country are still limited. Besides, the Consumer Protection Bill was ratified just a few months back after the country’s independence declaration, the Standards Bill expected to determine the quality among other concerns of goods imported and exported in the country is still in the parliament.