Prices soar as Zanzibar impasse drags on

Zanzibar city centre

                                          Zanzibar city centre

In Summary

Many members of the business community have stopped importing goods, subjecting the country to the shortage of basic needs. Spot checks in main markets at Darajani, Mombasa, and Mwanakwerekwe established shortages of basic goods, including food stuffs, Beans, potatoes, tomatoes and other commodities imported here from Tanzania Mainland are in short supply, leading prices and inflation to rise.

By Salma Said

Zanzibar. The economy has become the major victim of political impasse in Zanzibar since the results of the October 25 General Election were annulled by the Zanzibar Electoral Commission (ZEC). Ordinary wananchi, institutions, and the government are all experiencing economic hardships.

Many members of the business community have stopped importing goods, subjecting the country to the shortage of basic needs. Spot checks in main markets at Darajani, Mombasa, and Mwanakwerekwe established shortages of basic goods, including food stuffs, Beans, potatoes, tomatoes and other commodities imported here from Tanzania Mainland are in short supply, leading prices and inflation to rise.

Pemba has also not been spared. Chake Chake, Mkoani, and Wete markets have also been hit by the shortages of goods imported from the Mainland.

Since ZEC chairman Jecha Salim Jecha announced the cancellation of election results on October 28, this year, people have been complaining about the souring prices. The situation is getting worse each day with no indication in sight on when the political impasse will be resolved once and for all, prompting many people here to worry about the future of Zanzibar.

Recently, the head of Price Data Department in Zanzibar, Mr Khamis Hamad Shauri, released an inflation report for November which shows that prices of many commodities have increased amid shortage of such commodities in main markets.

The government has given three reasons which raised the inflation. One is failure by members of the business community to import the goods, second is poor infrastructure, and third is rampant bureaucracy in importation of the goods.

Mr Shauri noted that the price index in Zanzibar was determined by an analysis of about 269 goods and services. It was also computed from the amount of money which a family spent.

“Our data show that in November the price index increased to 121.1 from 109.2 recorded during the same month last year. On the other hand, inflation in November hit 10.9 per cent compared to 8.7 per cent registered in October 2015,” Mr Shauri said, stressing that the annual inflation was increasing at an alarming rate.

Mr Shauri noted that inflation of food commodities in November 2015 jumped to 16.4 per cent compared to 12.1 per cent registered in October. Non-food items inflation also increased from 5.5 per cent to 5.5 per cent during the same period.

On specific products, Mr Shauri noted that inflation of fish and its products reached 18.2 per cent and that of rice was at between 13 and 26 per cent depending on its type.

 

SOURCE: THE CITIZEN

 

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