(Business in Cameroon) - On December 24, the Cameroonian government issued two releases refuting information about a purported “uncontrolled” rise in the prices of staples in local markets.
“ Following the targetted and spiteful information relayed by some media echoing an uncontrolled rise in the price of staples in Cameroonian markets, the Minister of Commerce wishes to strongly condemn this insidious manipulation campaign whose clearly stated purpose is to destabilize the country,” reads a release signed by Minister of Commerce Luc Magloire Mbarga Atangana (photo).
The release indicated that the Cameroonian market has recorded stable supplies and resilient prices despite a particularly unfavorable international environment that ensued from the coronavirus pandemic, which caused an unprecedented disruption of global supply chains, record appreciation of the price of consumer goods, booms in shipping costs and input costs.
“Likewise, talking about price rises, while some countries are recording double-digit inflation or so, specialized institutes estimate Cameroon’s inflation at somewhere around +2.1% year-over-year, significantly below the 3% bar set by the convergence criteria of the Central African Economic and Monetary Community,” the release adds.
The second release issued on December 24, was signed by Minister of Communication René Emmanuel Sadi. In that release, the government official accused French news channel France 24 of airing an inaccurate story about the prices of consumer goods in Cameroon the previous day (December 23). The said story claims that the price of consumer goods has skyrocketed to such an extent that Cameroonian households are now unable to conveniently feed themselves. The story then concluded that in the long run, if the situation persists, it would cause an important uprising, threatening the stability and social peace in the country.
“The government strongly condemns those false allegations that do not reflect the current socio-economic environment in the country. In that regard, it should be mentioned that on this new year’s eve, markets are continually supplied up to the population’s needs and inflation is perfectly controlled, if compared with the figures recorded worldwide,” René Emmanuel Sadi stressed.
Households do report a rise in the prices of consumer goods. For instance, the price of fresh products like tomatoes recorded an explosive rise. Five round tomatoes are now XAF500 while normally, it would cost about XAF200. Also, a liter of refined oil that was previously sold at XAF1,150 is currently XAF1,600. Consistent and credible reports explain that before selling more than three liters of refined oil, sellers oblige buyers to purchase a 400-gram soap. This forced the Ministry of Commerce to partner with refined oil producers, on December 20, 2021, to start selling refined oil to “foil the speculations of some dodgy market sellers.”
The ministry also started selling, at regular market price, many consumer goods affected by speculative behaviors. Those goods are rice, beef, pork, farmed fish, wines, alcoholic drinks, and liquors.