Tunisia – Tunisians face escalating consumer prices and food insecurity
Source: A24 Tunis
Restriction: A24 subscribers
A24 spoke to everyday Tunisians about the sharpening economic crisis as lines of cars form at gas stations blocking traffic and homemakers go from shop to shop looking for basics like cooking oil, sugar and butter, A24 spoke to everyday Tunisians about the sharpening economic crisis.
“We search for sugar in every store but to no avail,” said Tunis homemaker Oumaimah. “Flour is back in the markets these days but rice is no longer there.”
Some interviewees directed their anger at Prime Minister Najla Bouden, a Tunisian geologist and university professor picked by President Kais Saied when he assumed wide powers in July 2021.
“The government is headed by a woman for a reason,” Tunis resident Suhail Belharith told A24. “In addition to raw materials being sold to the West, the West has non-peaceful intentions in appointing these rulers.”
Other interviewees demanded that those responsible for the high prices be held accountable for the surge in the cost of living.
President Saied has yet to directly address the shortages in public but did dismiss the head of Tunisia’s petroleum distribution company in late August.
Soundbite (Al-Habib Omar, Engineer-Retired):
“There is a shortage in all products. I am not the only one who noticed this. All Tunisians are struggling with high prices and hard living conditions, especially the poor who do not have money. In Ramadan, there were no flour and rice. Now there is a shortage of coffee, sugar, Coca-Cola and milk.”
Soundbite (Khaled Bin Rahouma-Employee):
“There are things we are used to not having, such as food oil, sugar, rice and semolina. We know that they do not exist, and if they were available, their prices would have been high. A kilo of rice, for example, costs 8 Tunisian dinars, while before it was 2 dinars.”
Soundbite (Sami bin Qassem – employee):
“What can I say? Should I start with vegetables, chickens or books? This is the result of corruption and ten years of destruction. Chicken costs 10 dinars, tomatoes 1.8 dinars, and potatoes two dinars. Speaking about basic necessities such as sugar, I who have children do not get sugar, while they sell it to cafe owners in large quantities.”
Soundbite (Ali Khiari– retired)
“We blamed the thieves for a year and two months. We love the fact that the person who stole is punished. With rising prices, let’s punish the monopolists. We don’t have to be ruled by forty families for life.”
Soundbite (Suhail Belharith- citizen)
“When Tunisian raw materials go to the West, they will go down for us, so we will face rising prices and unemployment. The value of the dinar has been reduced. The government is headed by a woman for a reason and a purpose. In addition to raw materials being sold to the West, the West has non-peaceful intentions in appointing these rulers.”
Soundbite (Muhamad Ali – citizen):
“The first issue we notice is the desire of the citizens, farmers, greengrocers, and herbalists to increase their profits without taking into consideration religious rules that determine profit rates.”.
Soundbite (Oumaimah – Tunisian citizen):
“Actually, no, not everything is available to us. We search for sugar in every store but to no avail. We find no form of sugar. Flour is back in the markets these days but rice is no longer there. We are not what we used to be.”