By Steven Enatu
The increasing prices of soap countrywide in Uganda has now come with tightened conditions from wholesalers making the prices shoot beyond normal.
In Soroti city, a mini-survey conducted on commodity prices in town showed that items such as washing soap and cooking oil have more than doubled since January.
According to a retailer who preferred anonymity, wholesalers in Soroti City have now introduced conditions that force one to buy what he or she had not planned to. The source disclosed that when you go to a wholesale shop to buy a box of white star shop, you’re forced to even buy a jerrican of cooking oil.
It’s understood that the commodities that are having price surges are majorly products from Bidco whose soap if you’re buying, you’re forced to take even cooking oil.
Prices keep fluctuating on a daily basis and this has greatly affected the customer turn up in retail shops.
The source disclosed that a box of white star soap at the wholesale shop is standing at 122,000shs as per 16th March 2022. This is when you’re taking a 20 liter Jerican at 178,000shs. And a box of blue soap is sold with a 10 liter Jerrican of cooking oil.
“You are charged 125,000shs if you’re not taking with cooking oil but if you’re taking with cooking oil, they give you at 122,000shs” the source said.
A bar of white star soap, for instance, now costs between Shs8000 and shs 8,500, and a blue soap costs 4000shs a bar. Cooking oil now sells ranging from 9000shs to 10,000shs per liter at retail price.
Judith Apio, a retailer at Soroti main Market, stressed that the prices are greatly affecting business. She said for example that the condition of buying a box of soap with a Jerrican of cooking oil is not favoring them since most consumers prefer packed cooking oil.
“Besides the prices keep changing on a daily basis and this sometimes makes consumers think that we are just cheating them,” she said.
Apio who pays a rent of 300,000shs for a small room in Soroti main market says that business is just for survival now not for saving and this is making her think of changing business.
Irene Chandiru, a consumer, said that leaders should come in to check what is happening with commodity prices. “We used to hear that it’s because of fuel but now fuel has fared, now we wonder what is going on?” she asked.
Benson Ekwee, the Executive Director Public Affairs Center called for government intervention to check and regulate consumers from greedy businessmen.
He said the prices need to be checked from the manufacturers, distributors, wholesale dealers and retailers to find out where the prices are hiked at.
“Leaders must wake up and exercise their mandate, we have the District Commercial officers, what are they doing? Their silence is suicidal to the community” he said while appearing on Face the nation talk show on TBS radio.
Commodity prices have been rising at a fast rate since January, forcing Ugandans to adjust their budgets in a country that is recovering from the devastating impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.
This means it now costs more to put food on the table and generally provide for a family.