August 24, 2008

Cost of Living in Sudan’s Capital Said Rising

Text of report in English by opposition Sudanese newspaper Khartoum Monitor website on 24 August

This has become an expensive commencement since some months ago the rise of prices on food commodities. Most of the prices have increased unnecessarily making some people unable to afford to buy even a single meal. Some years ago when the prices of any food item increased, the citizens in Khartoum city went on strike demanding their rights to know why there is an increment in the prices for food items.

But currently the system is no longer there as there are changes in the prices of food items and no strikes. The citizens are calm not and commenting on the prices of all the food items. The government is also unconcerned as it is not taking any action on how to solve the problems pending the food crisis find a mild way of controlling the soaring prices. This redundancy has encouraged the traders in their various markets to put food items even higher that desired according to their wish.

There is no control on the government side and no comment that would lead to general adjustments in the markets. In this situation the victims are the poor citizens who are unable to earn enough food for their families. By the end of this month, Muslim brothers are starting fasting; this would in essence mean that the soaring prices of food commodities will increase even higher than the present ones, because there will be high demand of food commodities by the citizens.

This happens every year during the Holy month of Ramadan, as there is no system in the government to have equal price of food items in all the markets. Each trader put the price of an item according to his or her will. No action being taken on the side of the concern authority when things are going wrong in the markets. Because some of the shops belong to some officials or their relatives, this is one of the reasons that make them not to take action in reducing the prices of food items in the markets.

Of course this situation affects the lower citizens, since they have no choice and power to say anything or act. The question poses itself; for how long will the citizens continue to endure such a situation? Those who are working in the government departments and whose salaries cannot meet the basic needs of their families especially in this current situation have fallen victims of the markets' wrath posted by traders. Since some people have no homes they ended up giving three quarters of their salaries to the landlords or landladies and the other little portion goes for transport.

In this season of rain, transport and house rent become expensive, for reason that in some of the areas when it rains no car can reach the stations due to the presence of mud and stagnant water. With the rain, some house in the remote areas used to collapse because they were built with local materials which have poor quality. For the citizens to move from place to another to get a new house in other areas is not easy. This situation of rain also has a negative impact on the schools, which were building in the remote areas. In heavy rains some schools are closed for some days because of the transport problem. This makes differences in the standard of the students in various schools. Every year the same situation remains without a concrete solution.

Originally published by Khartoum Monitor website, Khartoum, in English 24 Aug 08.

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