New Delhi: The turbulent economic conditions in Tunisia cast a shadow over the atmosphere of the holy month of Ramadan this year, when the country’s streets and markets are usually crowded.
In this blessed month, Tunisians used to decorate their homes with new paint, acquire beautiful pottery, in addition to filling the kitchen with everything a housewife needs to prepare what is delicious for her family members, and many of the usual preparations.
The smell of Ramadan wafts in the capital’s central market, which is the country’s largest market for selling vegetables, fruits, fish and meat.
Other goods that Tunisians are increasingly seeking this month, such as spices, decorative utensils, and kitchen appliances are offered by street vendors on many streets of the capital.
Ramadan will come this year to Tunisians under exceptional circumstances, as the country is in a state of instability at the political and economic level, and this has negatively affected the population’s standard of living.
Although all kinds of vegetables, fruits (fruits) and meat are available in the central market, Tunisian citizen complains about the lack of many products such as fortified oil and semolina, and the high prices of many other products.
While he was in the central market in the capital, to buy some goods, a citizen told The Eastern Herald: “We need many basic foodstuffs, such as fortified oil, flour, bread and rice.”
He added, “We go to the shops to buy our basic food needs, but we can’t find anything of what you mentioned, and we just buy a few vegetables despite the constant rise in their prices.”
Another citizen complains about the high prices, saying: “We learned that the state allocated a market for the product to the consumer on the occasion of the month of fasting, but we were surprised by the high prices and the absence of many basic foodstuffs.”
And she asserts in an interview that “the purchasing power of the citizen has deteriorated significantly, which made him unable to buy meat or grain.”
In the same market, a customer told The Eastern Herald: “The prices are very high, which pushes housewives to buy the least amount of food that is possible to meet the needs of her children and family.”
She explains, “For example, one kilogram of pepper for five dinars ($1.7), and materials such as semolina and sugar that we no longer see in the shops have become missing, and buying bread has become a difficult task that requires you to stand in line for a long time.”
Citizenship indicates that she “spends many hours moving between malls and markets to buy each product at the lowest price allocated to it.”
Low purchasing power
For his part, Ibrahim Nefzawi, head of the National Chamber of Poultry Meat Sellers (a trade union structure), explained to The Eastern Herald that “as for white meat prices for 2021, they are lower than their counterparts for 2022.”
He said, “The price of chicken has decreased from 8 dinars ($2.7) last year to 7.1 dinars ($2.3) now, while scallops (boneless chicken pieces) have gone down from 15 dinars ($5.1) to 14 dinars ($4.7).”
Nefzawi added, “But the consumer’s eagerness is the problem that poses a problem, and we do not see that citizens have financial problems, as they say.”
He continued, “As a union of industry and commerce, we have nothing to do with the (low) purchasing power of citizens.”
The Tunisian citizen continues to suffer in his inability to meet his most basic needs, amid complaints about sellers and merchants not complying with the prices set by the authorities.
The Tunisian economy is facing the worst crisis since the country’s independence in the 1950s, due to political instability since the 2011 revolution that toppled former President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, and the repercussions of the Corona pandemic, amid calls for the authorities to carry out economic reforms.
In addition to the economic crisis, Tunisia has witnessed, since last July 25, a political crisis when President Kais Saied began taking exceptional measures, including freezing the powers of Parliament (before he dissolved it last Wednesday), issuing legislation with presidential decrees, and dissolving the Supreme Judicial Council.