Traders in the Central Business District of Accra say an increment in transport fares is driving up prices of commodities in the market.
The traders said that though prices of commodities had been increasing at source since the beginning of the year, the added cost incurred by transporting the commodities to the market was the main cause of price hikes.
“Already, the price has increased from where we buy the fish. So, boarding a car to Tema to buy and bring it home to smoke before I send it to the market, there is an added cost, which I also factor into the price of the fish.” Maame Adjeley who sells smoked fish at the Makola market told the Ghana News Agency.
Maame Adjeley noted that the situation has dwindled her income, making her stop buying fresh fish from Tema, and resorted to buying from a nearby cold store to reduce the transport cost, stay in business and be able to take care of her family.
Maame Adjeley shared the narrative with Madam Victoria Kogbe, an onion trader, who also told GNA that the price of a sack of the commodity increased from GHS400 in January this year, to GHS600, on Wednesday.
She explained that the main driver of such increment was the cost of transportation as those who brought the commodity from Niger equally complained about hikes in transport fares, which built on the price of the commodity.
“Apart from the increase from where we buy, transportation from Adjen Kotoku to the market has also increased from GHS30 to GHS50. The people who bring the onion from Niger also complain about the increase in transport fares. They add this cost to what we buy, so, I also transfer the transport cost on the price of the things I sell,” she said.
Madam Betty Boatemaa has been selling beef, groundnut and cooking oil (palm oil/vegetable oil) in the Central Business District for the past 15 years.
According to her, the recent hikes in fuel prices, and its associated increment in transport fares have been the major reason for the increment in prices of food commodities in the market.
She said that a 10 kilogramme of beef sold for GHS150 in January for example had increased to GHS250. She added that the increment has been seen in the other commodities she sold in the market.
Mad Boatemaa went on to say: “Each time I go to bring the things, I see a price increase, and when you ask them, they tell you that because the fuel price has increased, the drivers also charge them more on transport.”
“Subsequently, they pass on the transport cost to us. When we also buy them and bring them to Accra, we incur high transport costs, and we are left with no choice but to add such cost to the price to make some profit,” she explained.
Since the beginning of the year, prices of commodities have been on the rise, with the Ghana Statistical Service, pegging the current change in the prices of goods and services (inflation rate) at 27.6 per cent.
The rise in transport fares seems to be having a boomerang effect as the Ghana Private Road Transport Union (GPRTU) is facing a decline in the patronage of their services. The Union has stated that transport business had slowed down since the last increment in fares last month.
The GSS has also observed that some traders have been taking undue advantage of the current inflationary pressures in the country, which risked prolonging the spell of price hikes for goods and services.
Mr John Foster Kwabena Agyaho, Head, Price Statistics, GSS, said the upward changes in prices of both locally produced and imported food commodities could ease anytime soon but, “the get rich quick, let’s take advantage of the situation” attitude of many traders in the market could derail gains when prices start to see some stability during the harvest season.
“People are quick to increase prices of goods and services at the hearing of an increase in fuel prices even when they do not incur any input cost. When you raise a concern, they will ask: haven’t you heard that prices of things have gone up?” he noted.
Experts have since urged the Government to implement measures that would control both the demand and supply sides of the inflationary pressures, and asked traders not to overly increase the prices of commodities.
Consumers have also been asked to increase their awareness of the market variations, equip themselves with information, and shop around for commodities of the same quality but with the lowest price.