Mambanyick Njie, administrative secretary of ruling National People’s Party, has linked the exorbitant cost of a bag of rice in the country to depreciation of the dalasis to foreign currencies and the Russia-Ukraine war.

The Gambia with a population of little over 2 million people, many of whom live below the World Bank’s poverty line, have been complaining about the high cost of living.

Mr Njie admitted the hardship in the country but claimed that the economic crisis was due to the outbreak of coronavirus and the war in Ukraine.

“If anyone says the country is not hard it is just making mistakes because we all go to the same market. We know how much we used to spend before and now, but these are the hardships on the world,” he said.

“Just today, one metric tonne of rice cost $420, right now, which means if you evaluate that to the dalasis a bag of rice will cost you 1,183 dalasis depending on the exchange rate of the dollar. 

“And if you bring it up to Banjul you will spend another 100 dalasis on the ports and taking it to your shop will cost you another 100 dalasis. So how can you sell a bag of rice for less than 1,000 dalasis. That cannot be because the dalasis is depreciating every day. 

“So, if things are like this, does the government has the right to ask the business community to reduce their price of commodities like that,” he added.

“Should we continue importing everything for the country? 

“This is where the government should come in to redefine the direction of the country’s agricultural production. 

“I have never accepted that The Gambia is poor, this is just our mindset of believing we are poor. 

“We have the land size and the water to do agriculture in this small country. We should not be hungry,” he continued.

Reporting by Adama Makasuba

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