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Gov’t to fix exchange rate

A woman buys bread from a Juba market. Credit: Unknown
A woman buys bread from a Juba market. Credit: Unknown

The government intends to fix the rate of the US dollar against the pound in an effort to reduce market prices, the Minister of Trade has said.

Dr Moses Hassan Ayet says his ministry, Central Bank, and the Ministry of Finance are working on ways to reduce the prices and stabilize the rate.

Currently, $100 is selling at more than 10,000 pounds in the black market and almost the same amount at the Central Bank.

The rate of the US dollar was initially fixed against the pound, but in December 2015, the government decided to let the rate be determined by demand and supply.

“As you see the dollar was at the rate of 13,000. Today it came down to 10,000, and we are expecting – with this effort – the dollar will be at a fixed rate for a long period,” Dr. Hassan told reporters in Juba on Thursday.

Dr Hassan spoke after a joint market survey in Juba with traders and City Council officials Thursday morning.

The minister said they found that market prices have tripled since January, while the rate of the US dollar only increased by 25 percent.

For his part, the Deputy Mayor for Administration and Finance, Ater Ayiel, says the rise in prices is a concern “we are getting pressure from the citizens” and “must get a solution to the issue”.

“It’s important for us to cooperate and coordinate so that we find a solution to the issue of high prices,” he said. “That’s why we did this visit with the minister to identify the problem so that we’d go and sit down as the government to solve this problem.”

One of the traders, Abdulrahim Ahmed Bashir, said they are selling commodities expensively due to the high exchange rate of the US dollar against the pound:

“The most important thing is that the dollar has to come down. Whenever the dollar comes down, the prices of commodities will come down too.”

The market survey was conducted in Konyo-konyo, the main market in Juba.

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