Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Let the market determine the price of meat

Dr. Dennis Carayal, Chairman, Livestock agency
Ramadan is upon us once more, and as predictable as the sun rising from the east, officials of the regime are tripping all over themselves in an attempt to control the price of meat and other basic commodities.

Price control was abandoned as a policy in 1986 when the market was liberalized by allowing it to do the allocation with some regulatory framework provided to ensue fairness and openness.

However, since 1994 when Jammeh entered the scene, he has been unable to decide if the free market is his forte or he prefers the old Soviet-style, centrally-planned economy where the planners set the prices with total disregard to the supply and demand mechanism.

Dr. Dennis Carayol, Chairman of the Livestock Agency, convened a 'consultative meeting' of security personnel, government officials, livestock owners, butchers, Area councilmen and women to discuss meat prices.  The regime believes that prices are artificially high and therefore should come down regardless of the cost to bringing the meat/cattle to market.

As livestock owners have tried explaining to the regime that most of their animals are bought in Senegal or Mauritania and normally priced in CFA francs, they cannot sell their animals at a loss. Similarly the butchers have argued that to sell at a lower price will result in their inability to realize returns that will sustain their business.

If it weren't because of the potential for these hard working livestock owners and butchers going to jail for selling their meat at market prices, we would have let the market do the talking for us.  But since that's not a viable proposition, we thought we could put in our two cents worth of commentary by saying to Jammeh, once more, that his attempt at controlling prices will only result in shortages, bringing further hardship to ordinary Gambians which have suffered enough under the A(F)PRC regimes.

Jammeh has tried it of numerous other occasions without success.  To repeat the same stupid exercise, year in, year out, is further testimony that the regime of Yaya Jammeh has run out of ideas. In fact, they had no idea in the first instance on how to govern the country which has led to Gambia's current predicament.

Our advise is : Allow the market to work for the benefit of all, including the abattoir which now belongs to Yaya Jammeh.