Commodity prices shoot up

Vendors in Ibanda market in January 2021. Prices of various commodities and food stuffs have gone high. PHOTO/RACHEL MABALA 

What you need to know:

  • The price of bread has jumped up from an average Shs3,000 per kilogramme to Shs5,000 per kilogramme.

Prices of essential commodities are shooting up as the lockdown forced by Covid-19 continues to bite. 
The increase in prices of essential items such as cooking oil, laundry soap and bread is adding up to the difficulties the population has to endure in a partially shut economy. 

Civil society, and government planners, including the Central Bank, have all warned of tough times as Uganda’s economy remains shut over what the authorities say are measures to stop the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Prices of basic commodities such as soap have risen by as much as 30 per cent in the last three months. 

A random survey of various essential commodities in the Kampala Metropolitan Area shows the prices of basic commodities have shot up significantly in most areas in the last three months. 

The Saturday Monitor survey indicates the price of a bar of laundry soap, for example, has increased by over Shs1,000 from an average Shs3500 to Shs 4500. 

Similarly, prices of bread have also jumped up from an average of Shs3,000 per kilogramme to as much as Shs5,000 per kilogramme. Commodities such as matooke (plantains) have seen their prices double as the country heads into the December festive season. 

In September, Uganda Bureau of Statistics (Ubos) reported that inflation had risen to 2.2 percent in September up from 1.9 percent in August. But last month, it fell back to 1.9 percent. In July, inflation stood at 2.1 per cent. 

However, there were some increases in prices of commodities under clothing and footwear (2.2 percent), furnishings, household equipment and routine household (3.9 per cent), and food and non-alcoholic beverages (3.1 percent) between October 2020 and October 2021, the statistics body said. 

The drop in inflation between October 2020 and October 2021 was attributed to a decline in the prices of commodities under transport (2.4 percent), alcoholic beverages, tobacco and narcotics (-0.5 per cent) and housing, water, electricity, gas and other fuels (-0.9 per cent). 

Monthly headline inflation for October 2021 increased by 0.2 percent compared to the 0.6percent increase recorded for September 2021 which was mainly attributed to price increments in food and non-alcoholic beverages, housing, water, electricity, gas and other fuels.

Among food items that saw their prices increase were pineapples, matooke, whole cassava, cassava flour, smoked tilapia, sweet potatoes, maize flour including laundry soap and charcoal.

Arua had the highest inflation at 2.6 percent  on account of food and non-alcoholic beverages inflation that increased to 3.5 per cent in October from 1.2 per cent registered in September.

The second highest was Kampala high income at 2.6  per cent in October  from 3.1 per cent in September on the back of clothing and footwear inflation supported also by furnishings, household equipment and routine household Inflation.

Annual transport Inflation increased to 4.6 percent in October from minus 1.4 percent in September.

The area with least inflation was Kampala low income at 0.2 per cent for the 12 months to October 2021 the same rate recorded in September 2021.

The low inflation in the Centre was mainly due to ‘alcoholic beverages, tobacco and narcotics’ inflation that declined to 2.0 per cent for the 12 months to October 2021 down from 5.6 per cent in September 2021. 

In addition, annual personal care, social protection and miscellaneous goods’ Inflation declined to 1.2 per cent in October 2021 down from 2.6 per cent in September 2021.

Ten years ago, in 2011, Ugandans took to walking to work to demonstrate against rising commodity prices and fuel costs in the country. 

The walk-to-work campaign, championed by Opposition politicians, was in response to the rising food and fuel prices.

At the time, Bank of Uganda reported a near double in monthly headline inflation from 6 per cent to 11.4 per cent.

Noteable price changes

Item    July  and Now
Bread     3,800 to 4,000    4200  to 5,000
Soap     3500 to 3800    4000 to  4500
Sugar     2700 to 3300    3500 to  3700
Milk     22,00     3,000
Wheat flour     6000(2kg)    6,500
Beer     3000    3,500
Rice     3,000 to 3800    4,200 
Posho (Maize Flour)    1800-2000    2,200
Toothpaste 140gs     4500    5,000
Pens (50pcs)    20,000    25,000
Matooke Bunch     5000-10,000 10,000 to 15,000
Margarine     8,000(1KG)    12,000-14500
Cooking oil (1ltr)    9500    10,500
Beans     2500    3,000
Cow peas    4,000    4,000
Dry fish     10,000    15,000
Onions     2,000    2,500
Tomatoes (Kg)    2000    2,500
Garlic    1500    2,000
Petrol     3866-4190     4250
Diesel     3485     3,764



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