By Basidia M Drammeh
As the nation reels from an agonizing and nightmarish natural disaster, certain members of Gambia’s business community are taking advantage of the calamity to hike the prices of construction materials. Even the price of an essential commodity like bottled water has been increased due to the challenges NAWEC has been facing in restoring regular services.
It’s disgusting and disheartening that members of Gambia’s business community are in the habit of exploiting people’s suffering by hoarding commodities at times of dire need as a pretext to hike prices. During the holy month of Ramadan, prices of all basic commodities skyrocket beyond the means of the average Gambian who struggles daily to make ends meet. When Eid Al Adha approaches, prices of rams shoot through the roof to the detriment of disadvantaged members of the society who form the bulk majority of the country. In other parts of the world, the business community is conscious of its corporate social responsibility and therefore contributes its quota towards national causes. Unfortunately, our businesspeople are more particular about making a profit rather than sympathize and empathize with their needy kinfolks.
Our businesspeople should have turned this unprecedented calamity into an opportunity by selling building materials and other basic commodities at affordable prices as a way of contributing towards alleviating the suffering of thousands of citizens affected by the disaster. Though the authorities have expressed willingness to help, we know the limitations of the government; hence everyone is duty-bound to come to the aid of the disaster victims in any way possible. The business community is no exception. It’s a matter of fact; they should take the lead in helping the victims. It’s a humanitarian situation and should be dealt with in this context.
A heavy windstorm swept through the Gambia on July 7, leaving a trail of destruction in its wake.