Border Closure: Salt Prices Double

The price of salt has more than doubled in Kampala allegedly owning to the closure of the Uganda-Kenya border. 

A carton of table salt now costs Shillings 65,000 from Shillings 31,000 on Thursday last week.    

Ritah Nakazzi, a wholesale trader in Kikuubo blames the increase in the price of salt on the closure of the Uganda-Kenya border.

Kenya closed its borders recently as a control measure against the Corona virus pandemic.   

Everest Kayondo, the Chairperson Kampala City Trader’s Association-KACITA, says the border closure has had an impact on salt prices since Uganda doesn’t produce any salt.

“The price increase has nothing to do with hoarding but most likely because this salt comes from Kenya. Since Kenya closed its borders, we don’t have local production,” he said,

Adding that “There is stock out of Items, which are consumed daily like salt because of the lockdown. 

Although the President allowed transit of goods, they cannot come on their own; they have to be purchased by traders. The directive only favors cargo, which was already in transit.” 

He explained that Ugandan traders are unable to travel to Mombasa and order for salt because of the lockdown. 

The salt price hike has trickled down to retailers. Lillian, a retailer in Nabweru, says currently a Sacket of 500 grams of salt costs Shillings 1000 from the initial price of Uganda Shillings 600. 

“The price here is currently Shillings 1000 but I suspect it’s more in some areas because we heard there is a stock out in Kikuubo,” she said. 

Sumaiya, a consumer in Sseguku cried out on the hike of the salt price, saying they are now buying a Sacket of 500gms at Shillings 1200 from Shillings 600 previously. 

In his nation address in Tuesday evening, President Yoweri Museveni issued a stern warning to unscrupulous traders taking advantage of the Coronavirus pandemic to enrich themselves through hiking prices of food stuffs.  

“I am warning those crooks that are hiking prices of food. We shall find you and revoke your license. What has changed for food to be overpriced? Those “crooks” hiking the prices of food I am warning you. I will send spies to find you. If found, I will revoke your license for taking advantage of us. Why are you hiking food? We grow it here. It is not imported,” he said.

Uganda largely depends on salt imports from Kenya. The 2018 report of the United Nations COMTRADE database on international trade, shows Uganda’s imports of Salt, pure sodium chloride, and sea water stood at US$24.14Million.        

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