A number of citizens in the country accused businessmen of using the coronavirus threat to sell goods at unreasonably high prices, and they called on the government to prosecute them.
Many people have been out shopping over the past two days in the food market in Kabul to prepare for the coronvirus and possible shortages.
But the fear of the coronavirus and the people's need to stockpile food have caused prices to rise.
“What type government is this? They (government) say they want to control the market price but it is a useless control, they (government officials) just come and get an assurance from the shopkeeper that he will not sell high, but when they ask to see the receipts, the businessmen says "I don't have any,” said Haji Khateb, a resident of Kabul.
“When the market controllers are here the price is good, and they sell the flour for about 1,900 and 2,000 afghanis, but when the controller leaves the area, then again every shopkeeper starts selling what they want,” said Naeem Qureshi, another resident of Kabul.
Although the authorities in charge of market regulation have made some efforts, it seems they have not impacted food prices so far.
A number of Kabul residents protested in front of the Kabul municipality against traders who price-gouge and hoard.
“If Corona doesn't kill us today, be sure that starvation will,” said Shahram Rahmani, a resident of Kabul.
To prevent such business practices, price-gouging and hoarding are a crime in Afghanistan.
“Greater profits, and the use of people's mental state for greater profits, is a crime and is punishable by the penal code,” said Arash Shaherpor, lawyer.
At the same time, President Ghani says that in order to stabilize the market, he has ordered 24,000 tons of wheat to be distributed to needy people from the state reserves.
Ashraf Ghani says the borders will be open 24 hours a day for imports.
“Today I ordered the distribution of 24,000 tons of wheat from government strategic reserves to vulnerable people, and the Afghan government has decided to allow about one thousand wagons of cooking oil to be available in our northern ports as soon as possible... " said Ghani.
“One hundred and fifty wagons are the only flour now available in Mazar-e-Sharif... and each wagon has more than one hundred and fifty tons of flour and also seven thousand tons of oil in Mazar-e-Sharif city,” said Khanjan Alkozai, member of the Board of Directors of the Chamber of Commerce and Investment.
In the past two days, especially in Kabul, the price of foodstuffs has skyrocketed, as a 50kg of flour in the Kabul market has reached up to 2,500 afghanis, while few days ago the same amount of flour was 1,600 afghanis.