Vendors in Greater Banjul Area Lament the High Cost of the CFA Franc 

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By Sariba Manneh

[Banjul, 14th February, 2023] Vendors in the Greater Banjul Area (GBA), have lamented the high cost of the CFA Franc against the dalasi.

Talking to Foroyaa yesterday, they said the skyrocketing cost of the CFA Franc and its consequences have started to impact on the prices of some goods at markets across the GBA, in recent weeks.

Some of the vendors who spoke to this reporter on Tuesday 13th February 2023, complained about the factors leading to high prices of basic commodities.

Kebba Sonko, a dealer in footwear (shoes), said prices are increasing mainly because of the rising value of the CFA Franc against the Gambian Dalasi.

“I bought my products from Senegal and I need to change my money into CFA franc, to be able to buy and bring back my goods for sale in The Gambia, and this increase in cost of the CFA franc has led to a major decline in sales. This particular currency is on the increase daily, particularly with the advent of Ramadan in the shortest possible time, prices of basic commodities will rise further. The 5,000 CFA was equivalent to D455 but it now costs more than D500. Why are they doing this to us (the small business owners)?” Sonko quizzed.

According to Sonko, the situation has made some of them stop importing from Senegal because of the high cost of the CFA against the dalasi.

Sonko said the past government never allowed the continuous increase of the CFA franc against our national currency, and did everything possible to protect the dalasi. Mr Sonko opined that the price for food items might be shocking to consumers this year, especially during Ramadan if the government does not act now, to stop unscrupulous dealers of foreign currency in the country. 

Mabintou Canteh, a textile and ladies footwear vendor, reiterated similar remarks on the high cost of CFA Franc against the Gambian dalasi. According to her, this is the main cause of the price increase which she said is not good for businesses and is disadvantageous to them because customers are not buying goods as expected because of the high cost. 

“It is not easy to go to Senegal and buy products and then come back and sell them to the people at a high price. People will always complain about the prices when they are increased, but we cannot do anything otherwise unless they want to force us out of business,” Ms Conteh said.

Kaddy Chorr, who sells vegetables, appealed to the authorities to urgently address the uncontrolled increase of food items and the high cost of the CFA franc against the Dalasi.

According to her, the trend seems to go unabated and is forcing some of them out of business.

“I bought a bag of carrots for D2,500 and a bag of cabbage, which now costs D1,300. We are not making profit at all to enable us sustain our businesses as well as maintain our families,” she remarked.