PAKWACH. Commodity prices in Pakwach district have continued to rise despite the president directing the business community to stay the prices.

This comes in the wake of increasing cases of COVID-19 in the country which the ministry of health on Wednesday confirmed five new cases to bring the total to fourteen (14).

The situation of the price hike has further been escalated by closure of the border between Uganda and Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) at Dei in Panyimur sub county where locals often get cheaper food.

Residents often buy food stuff from the markets of Kolokoto and Mahagi in DRC through Dei and ferry them from Butiaba to Panyimur landing sites.

According to Ms Beatrice Alum, a fish monger at Pakwach main market, prices of fish at Panyimur market have been hiked by fishermen from Shs. 50000 to Shs. 90000 a packet which is extra ordinary hike.

She particularly sighted the Angara fish prices that she said had become impossible for the ordinary people to afford.

"The fishermen want to make profit out of this situation and the fishermen from Congo used to supply extra fish here but the closure due to this deadly disease has worsened everything and yet we have loans to settle", Alum said.

The chairman Panyimur business community Mr Paul Kinobe said they decided to call off the Panyimur market which used to be every Monday to control the swelling number of traders from contracting the disease. He warned that taking advantage of the calamity to make profits was a heartless act.

"We have no control over shooting prices of food items since food is becoming scarce due to closure of entry point in our country and I appeal for banks to loosen the loan conditions for the traders with this pandemic", he appealed.

The resident district commissioner Pakwach Mr Swaib Toko said the decision taken to close the boarder is a directive that should not be used as an avenue to exploit the community as majority of essentials are produced within the country.

"COVID-19 is not a one man's fight which should not be ignored and our directive is not to starve the population but we want it contained in the given thirty two days", he said.

Consumers whom West Nile Web interviewed said they now buy commodities such as salt which is selling at shs. 3000 a sachet from the black market as retailers claim to have run out of the commodities.

Locals also continue to live in fear in anticipation of an impending lock down of the country and therefore want to stock enough food as families continue to stay home.