August 7, 2014 (BOR) – Already struggling Bor residents are being hit with price hikes for everyday goods as high costs of transportation are passed onto consumers.
- A overturned truck on the Juba-Bor road, which has become almost impassable as a result of the rainy season and its poor condition (ST)
Businessmen say transportation costs have soared as the road between the Jonglei state capital and Juba becomes almost impassable due to the rainy season.
“Last year prices were lower, but now things are different. One of the reasons is the charges on transportation are higher than the ones of last year. Today, we are hiring [a] 20-tonne truck from to Bor at 12,000 [South Sudanese] pounds (SSP). It was 7,000 pounds last year,” said local shop owner Hussein Abdalla.
Sugar, beans, oil and wheat flour have all witnessed price hikes, and costs are likely to increase further.
“With this road conditions, the prices will still increase further in September and October,” said Hussein.
A 50kg bag of white sugar currently sells for nearly 300 SSP, with a 20-litre jerry can of oil at 250 SSP, beans at 250 SSP and a 50kg bag of wheat flour at 360 SSP.
In comparison sugar was selling in Bor for 220 SSP in the dry season, with oil at 180 SSP, wheat flour at 240 SSP and beans at 200 SSP.
Among the food items sold in Bor, only sorghum prices have decreased, with a bag currently selling for 30 SSP, down from the previous price of 215 SSP. The price drop came after humanitarian actors distributed adequate supplies to displaced people and returnees in Bor.
The 192km journey between Juba and Bor can take up to four days due to the bad condition of the road.
Many trucks overturn making the perilous trip, with thousands of metric tonnes of food and non-food items destroyed as a result.
The costs of non-food items, including clothes and shoes, have also soared in Bor.
Clothes remain in high demand as the majority of people lost their possessions in the looting and fighting that erupted in mid-December last year in Juba before spreading to other regions.
Bor was the scene of heavy fighting at the height of the conflict, with mush of the local infrastructure destroyed.
Rebecca Nyandiar Joh, an officer in the wildlife service in Bor, lost all of her clothes when conflict broke out in the town.
“My houses were burned in Bor with all my clothes, utensils and food stuff. At least every month, after receiving my salary, I buy some clothes for myself and children. People like me are doing the same in Bor. The prices are high, but we have no other option but to buy,” she said.
Speaking to Sudan Tribune on Thursday, a senior officer in Jonglei state’s ministry of physical infrastructure said the government had failed to prioritise urgent upgrades for the Bor-Juba, which he says has been left to fall into decline since 2010.
“This road had been neglected by the government since 2010, when a lot of roads where brought forward for planning. Even these internal roads in Bor, we are asking some funds for fuel because we had machineries to grade it by levelling the holes, but no money from Juba,” said the official on condition of anonymity.
Shops are currently being renovated, while rebuilding efforts have also started in Bor Marol market after 90 per cent of it was destroyed during the December crisis.