Addis Abeba – The Addis Abeba Trade Bureau began to take action against Sunday market traders who have been selling goods at prices higher than the ceiling. So far, administrative measures have been implemented against traders in three sub-cities.
Mesfen Asefa, the head of business marketing at the bureau, said that illegal business activities, such as selling onions above the official prices, have been observed in Sunday markets. Mesfen stated that appropriate administrative actions will continue in the future to address this issue.
The prices of essential food items have reached unprecedented levels in recent months. Particularly, the price of onions in Addis Abeba has experienced a significant and alarming rise, surpassing 100 birr per kilogram. City officials attribute this price surge to a supply-and-demand mismatch for the product.
In September 2023, the year-on-year general inflation rate reached 28.3%, with food inflation recorded at 27.1%. The Ethiopian Statistical Service has identified the rise in average prices of key food items such as bread and cereals (40.7%), vegetables (31.8%), and meat (28.5%) as the primary factors driving food inflation.
Introduced two years ago by Mayor Adanech Abiebie’s administration, Sunday markets aim to protect urban residents, particularly the poor, from rampant inflation that has made life difficult. Since October 2021, the city administration has been expanding these markets to facilitate direct transactions between producers and consumers, ultimately reducing prices for consumers in the capital. Addis Abeba now has more than 172 Sunday market locations.
However, consumers have expressed concerns over the steep increase in commodity prices at these weekly markets, which are now comparable to prices at ordinary markets and retail shops. To regulate and oversee Sunday markets, the city’s trade bureau will deploy a team of experts to various locations, according to Mesfen. These experts have been granted the authority to implement necessary actions on-site.
Last week, the Addis Ketema sub-city announced disciplinary measures taken against eight Sunday market vendors guilty of selling onions at prices higher than the maximum value. This sub-city alone houses 22 Sunday markets, with 24 associations and 57 traders providing diverse supplies to consumers.
Yidnekish Girma, the head of the commercial office at Addis Ketema sub-city, disclosed that a comprehensive study is currently being conducted to assess the pricing system in 21 Sunday market outlets. AS