With the prices of basic food items skyrocketing daily due to the recent global crisis, Awoko spoke to people in Kabala to find out how it has been affecting their daily expenditures.
First, it was Paramount Chief Alie Balansama Marrah the 3rd of Semgbeh Chiefdom in the Koinadugu district who told Awoko that, the recent global crisis has led to a sharp increase in his daily expenditure to meet the demands of his family.
Speaking to this press in his house at Kabala on the 26th of June, PC Alie Balansama Marrah the 3rd said, as a Member of Parliament, he used to have salary and allowances at the end of each month “but to be honest with you that is not enough for me as a man with a large family”, he said.
“It is actually not enough to sustain me and my family because I used to be a father of one household but now because I am attached to parliament I am a father of two household, I used to give feeding at my permanent address and Freetown, my temporary address where I attend parliament, I have to give money for food also. So it is like I now spend in one day what I used to spend in two days”.
He said, “as a paramount chief with a lot of people we used to eat a bag of rice for days and in a month, it is like 6 bags of rice for month in Kabala and in Freetown it is 1 to 2 bags a month “.
On how many times the family in Kabala eats a day, the Paramount Chief said, “it all depends, but the most important one is twice a day and in the morning we get breakfast and in the afternoon, food must have been ready. If you eat in the afternoon, if you think it is necessary, you can save some for the evening but in actuality I provide food twice a day for the family in Kabala”.
According to the chief, what he spends on breakfast now far exceeds what he used to spend before this time and that the same applies in other areas of expenditure
On his monthly expenditure just on sauce alone, the Paramount Chief said, he is lucky that “when butchers kill cows, they send me meat and so I used to give Le 20,000 for the other aspect of cooking but I tell you my salary is not enough to feed my family only that it does feed them for a few days. I spend more than what I earn “Before this time, I used to spend Le 15,000 and now it is Le 20,000 daily just on sauce. The increase in the prices of food stuffs has led to a situation where in I spend more than what is used to spend”.
However, the Paramount Chief is of the view that there are ways of solving the current problem in the country. “What is happening is a global issue but it is the responsibility of government to work hard and ensure that they at least address these problems.”
Next to talk to Awoko on the issue was one Auntie Sarah who runs a restaurant in Kabala named, ‘Just Inn’. She disclosed that, the increase in the price of basic food items in the market due to the global problem “has adversely affected my family and business”.
Aunty Sarah, as she is commonly called, stated that before now, she used to buy a big bag of rice at the cost of Le 60,000 “but now it costs Le130, 000 and the small bag costs Le 65,000”, she said and furthered that “this has affected my business since my customers have dropped because I had cause to also increase the price of a plate of food from Le2,000 to Le 3,500. This has actually forced my customers to run away from me”. Sarah said. She furthered that, before the current global food and price crises she used to spend Le 15,000 on sauce but that at the moment, she is spending more than Le 40,000 to prepare sauce.
Before this time, she said, she used to spend Le 4,000 on fish alone but now, she is spending Le 6,000 and sometimes Le7,000 on fish and that on palm oil five gallons were sold at Le 30,000 but that has increased to Le 75,000.
I also cook separate for my family.
Speaking on what she used to spend on preparing food for the home before now, Sarah said, ‘I used to spend Le 5000 for cooking but now I spend Le 15,000 to prepare food for a family of 10 and that she used to cook five cups of rice but now she cooks 10 cups of rice.
On breakfast she said “I used to spend Le 5,000 but now it’s Le 15,000, since I used to buy the medium size cocoa at Le 3,000 but now it is sold at Le 6,000; mayonnaise the big bottle was Le 27,000 and now it costs Le35,000; lump sugar was Le 2,500 and now it cost Le 4000… medium size milk was Le 15,000 and it now costs Le 27,000. With regard bread, there has been a decrease in the quantity, Sarah said
She appealed to the government to intervene in the current price crisis by ensuring that there is a reduction in the price of rice and even the palm oil.
By John Baimba Sesay & Abibatu Kamara