Prices Remain High In Aweil

Abdhallah Eissa Tahir, a trader in Aweil. Locals say prices of consumer goods have dropped in the past four months but now might increase if the borders remain closed. [Abraham Agoth]

“Reopening of the borders for trade to resume between two Sudan’s is what most people here talk about almost during the day, and the recent aggressions from Sudan may delay the resumptions of the recently signed eight agreements except the ninth agreement, (Mile 14),” said Mareng Chuor Deng, a commissioner at the State Revenue Authority (SRA).

Deng told the media that they have received reports that goods are coming in from Sudan through routes linking South Darfur and Northern Bahr el Ghazal State town of Gok-machar in Aweil North County.

“There are some few traders who bring their goods on camels, on donkeys then they come and offload them in a designated area along the border and then some traders go there and buy from there but it’s not in a big quantity anyway but they do it at their own risk because the border is not actually officially opened so these are those ones who come through illegal routes to bring their goods but is not in large quantity,” he said.

Deng said the closure of the border did not only lead to an increase of the prices but lack of proper taxation and financial systems is promoting the rise of the prices as traders try to decide on their volition to sell goods in order to recover the expenses.

“You know our revenue system in the whole of the country is very weak-everybody is collecting; you find the army is collecting, you find Wildlife collecting, Police collecting, national tax-officers collecting, customs collecting, and the state collecting, so you add up on all these things you find that the prices is going to be up,” he said.

He says they are working to have proper taxing systems to reduce malpractices being encountered.

Most of the traders say reopening the border will help reduce the prices of consumer goods.

Abdhallah Eissa Tahir, a trader in Aweil said:  “In fact the prices are reducing a little bit compared to the previous months…I bring the 50 bags of flour from East Africa. In Kampala up to here I always incur expenses 238 South Sudanese Pounds (SSP) including the taxes and money for porters. This month now, the bag of flour is sold at 180, or 170 SSP.”

Locals say prices of consumer goods have dropped in the past four months but now might increase if the borders remain closed.

“When I got the local sorghum on sale and I asked someone who was selling the 4 Kilogram of sorghum known as Malwa he told me that it’s sold at 10 SSP but we heard that it’s dropped to 5 SSP but now it’s not true, it’s still 10 SSP because not many goods are in the market. If the border reopens we hope goods will come down a bit. Even now the bag of flour is dropping now, but if the changes occur in goods, we hope life will be easier for the locales,” said Kuch Akeen, a businessman in Aweil.”

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