Officials from Somaliland government are actively checking stores to ensure that businesses are not hiking prices due to COVID-19 fears. This is according to multiple businesses across Hargeisa that have been visited by officials who did not identify what government department they were affiliated with.
Sources tell Somaliland Chronicle that officials are conducting this activity in multiple cities including the capital. Sources add that so far no severe price hikes have occured and although businesses are ensuring they have sufficient quantities, there are no signs of mass panic buying from the public.
Although the Minister of Interior Hon. Mohamed Kahin has officially warned businesses against price gauging, it is unclear if the officials checking food market prices are from the Interior Ministry.
Minister Kahin did not specify what steps the government will take against businesses engaged in price gauging to cash in on the COVID-19 FEARS.
Although Somaliland lacks basic medical services, the President HE Muse Bihi Abdi has appointed a COVID-19 taskforce that includes the Ministers of Interior, the Education and Sciences, Information and National Guidance and Religious Affairs and Endowments. So far there are no reported cases of COVID-19 in Somaliland.
Historically, food prices edge higher during the holly month of Ramadan but generally subside afterwards. It is unclear if and how COVID-19 affect on global food prices and supply chains will impact food price and availability in Somaliland.