Rising grocery prices temporary, says minister Kasaija

Uganda's Minister of Finance, Planning and Economic Development Mr Matia Kasaija addresses journalists at the Uganda Media Centre on March 22, 2022. PHOTO/HANDOUT

What you need to know:

  • The increase in commodity prices has left several Ugandans struggling to put food on the table and provide for their families.

The Finance minister, Mr Matia Kasaija, has said the rising cost of commodities is temporary and will subside soon.

“As we may all observe, the main causes of the recent increase in commodity prices are external and thus beyond the ability of policymakers to deal with. We should not panic or alarm our people. This is a temporary situation that is going to subside sooner or later,” he said.

He noted that the escalating prices are much lower compared to elsewhere in the world.

“The rise in prices in Uganda is much lower compared with the current global trends. Inflation has risen everywhere in the world, including in advanced nations. For example inflation in US accelerated to 7.9 per cent in February, the highest they have recorded in 40 years,” Mr Kasaija said.

He advised Ugandans to find cheaper alternatives. “I used paw paw leaves during Amin’s time to wash. I am not advocating for that, but you can use them as an alternative.  I am not mocking anyone,” he said.

Mr Kasaija was addressing the media at the Uganda Media Centre yesterday.

The increase in commodity prices has left several Ugandans struggling to put food on the table and provide for their families.

“The government through the Bank of Uganda is monitoring and responding with necessary monetary policy to ensure inflation stays within target...,” the minister said.

He blamed the rise on the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic across the world that disrupted the supply chain, leading to higher transport costs and shortage of raw materials used to produce soap and cooking oil, among others.

Weighing in on other causes, he said the situation has been worsened by the Russia -Ukraine conflict which has disrupted supply of oil and cereals such as wheat, corn, and sunflower oil.

The Uganda Bureau of Statistics indicates that cooking oil has registered the highest rise in price by 21 percent between December 2021 and February 2022 and a 77.6 percent rise in the past one year. The price of laundry bar soap has increased by 20 percent between December 2021 and February 2022 and by 47.8 percent in the past one year.  Consumer price index for February 2022 increased to 3.2 percent from 2.7 percent in January 2022.

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