By Yusufu S. Bangura
Native Consortium and Research Centre (NCRC) through a press release issued on Tuesday 11th April has condemned the recent hike in the price of wheat flour in the country.
“The NCRC is urgently calling on President Bio to intervene in the astronomical hike in the price of bag of flour resulting into an artificial scarcity created by flour importers and the 92% increase within a week,” the Consortium said.
They urged the President to engage stakeholders in the flour industry including the Trade Minister, Pee Cee & Sons and Juldeh Shaw, among others, so as to reduce the price.
“In as much as the political period matters but we are calling on Mr. President that our bread and butter matters most,” they said.
Late last week, there were rumours that bakers and bakery owners were preparing to go on strike due to a shortage of flour in the market and on Monday there was a huge scarcity of bread within the Freetown municipality which made it difficult for customers to have bread especially those who are observing the month of Ramadan.
A large portion of Sierra Leoneans heavily depend on bread after rice, which is the country’s staple food. Some homes in the West African nation alternate bread to rice to safeguard cost but the recent price hike has seen the size of bread reduced.
Sierra Leone, like most countries in the sub-region, is currently experiencing inflation. The country’s Central Bank predicted that the trend would likely continue due to the rise in the exchange rate of foreign currencies against the Leones and protracted effects of the Ukraine War.
However, last week the Sierra Leone Bakers’ Union informed the public that due to the scarcity of bread flour in the country, they as bakers will lay down their tools if their concerns are not addressed.
Information Technology Manager at Pee Cee and Sons, Augustine K Dawoh, during an interview conducted at Radio Democracy ‘Gud Morning Salone program’, assured the public that they have enough bread flour.
He disclosed that the cost for bread flour at the black market is NLe1, 500 and NLe1, 400 per 50kg bag, but they are selling it at NLe 800 for 50kg bag.