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School supplies soar in pricing as New Year dawns

Cost of school supplies touches sky highs as preparation for the new academic year meets most families in tough times.
Shortage of foreign currency, lack of input materials and other factors has in recent times created the increased prices of school supplies.
The market for exercise books and education materials has steadily been on the rise for the past eight years in the stationeries across the country.
There are two kinds of exercise books in the market- the laminated and the non-laminated, with more buyers preferring the laminated ones because of durability, sellers explain. “The price of exercise book is increasing significantly within a short time,” said one seller that Capital spoke to at an Exhibition center recently.
“A few years back, the wholesale price of a single exercise book used to be around 10 birr, while now that narrative has changed to up to 80 birr. Distribution and supply of education materials is limited in the market resulting in the inflated pricing,” the seller further elaborated.
The high cost was created by the shortage of exercise book that came following foreign currency shortages. “It is a little bit harder to find foreign currency from the banks,” said sources from one of the private paper manufacturing companies indicating that some manufacturers are cutting their production and operating below their capacity whilst looking up to government for support.
As Abeba Tamene, head of public relations and communication at the Ministry of Industry said, “The Ministry doesn’t have such in-depth information on the situation. However, the ministry will try to evaluate the case.”
Fortunately, parents do not have to buy text books as the government provides for those who attend public schools. The private school students do buy books for only a little above the price that the schools buy from the government, adding the transportation cost they incur.
Same as exercise books, the price for other school items is higher than ever. Other school items that are in high demand during the holidays are school bags and uniforms. School bags sell for 1000 to 6000 birr at the exhibition.
Another market associated with the coming academic year is the uniform market.
“Our markets boom in between the months of July and September, and we are currently in preparation for this,” one trader explained, signaling that prices in the uniform market still remain high.


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