By Bonifacio Taban Kuich
October 19, 2012 (BENTIU) - Thousands expired commodities have been confiscated according to Unity Authorities finance Ministry, and traders from Ethiopia and Sudan being investigated for selling the goods after their sell-by-date.
Niemeri Mayual Garkek, the Unity State director for industry and quality promotion, told Sudan Tribune on Friday that the expired goods are being stored by the government after they were found on sale in Bentiu’s markets.
The expired goods are allowed to enter the state as there asre "no clear check points" to inspect imported commodities”, Garkek said.
South Sudan depends on imported goods from the neighboring countries Sudan, Ethiopia, Kenya and Uganda. The country has vast areas of fertile land but insecurity and inefficiency in agricultural production mean that South Sudan still depends largely on imports, especially for manufactured goods.
Garkek says over reliance on imports is a big challenge for the young nation, making Unity State "a zoo of the expired commodities".
The expired commodities came through Rubkotna and Guit ports on the White Nile river which are used by traders to import goods to the state. Most storage facilities for consumable goods are not well ventilated resulting in some goods going bad even before their expiry dates.
The expired goods include medicine, maize flour, alcoholic drinks, powered juices, biscuits, and sodas. Authorities say will take to court traders suspected of bringing expired goods into the state.
“Before the demolition in that place we have apply what is so call legal procedures, in the present of legal advisor at the Ministry level or even there is no legal advisor we use to cooperate with those prosecution and attorney or legal administration, the legal procedure we have to use we do with what we call not comply form”, Garkek added.
Garkek says the government is working hard to stop such practices from reoccurring within the state, adding that traders should respect the role of the South Sudan National Bureau of Standards.
In the state capital Bentiu, consumers complain that many bakers sell bread with insects inside their bread and that rotten goods are sold in markets.
Joseph Gatluak Jal, 21, a bread seller in Kalibalek Market told Sudan Tribune that some goods are rotten when they are sold to them by wholesalers.
“It is true that some wheat flour carry some insects", he said, adding that "when we go and buy the wheat flour we could not know whether such wheat flour has spoiled”.
Jal who has made his living selling bread seller since 2007 earns between 15 to 20 South Sudanese Pounds (SSP) a day. He blames the government for not properly controlling imports and the consequent potential health consequences.
South Sudan lacks the equipment or laboratories to properly examine the import goods to the country.