(Business in Cameroon) - In Cameroon, the consumer price index rose to 2.6% in the first quarter of 2020, according to a recent note published by the National Institute of Statistics (INS). Compared with the 2.3% recorded during the same period in 2019, this represents a 0.3% year-over-year increase.
According to the INS, this increase is mainly due to the rise in the prices of food and non-alcoholic beverages (3.1%), restaurants and hotels (5.4%) and clothing and footwear (2.8%).
The increase in food prices was mainly spurred by higher prices of fruits (8.9%), vegetables (7.9%), sugar, jam, honey, chocolate and confectionery (4.1%), meat (4.8%), bread and cereals (1.5%), fish and seafood (0.4%).
At end-March, it was also boosted by the foodstuff and basic necessity products’ panic buying that followed the measures issued on March 17, 2020, by the government to curb the spread of the Covid-19.
"However, the intensive campaigns conducted by the Ministry of Commerce to unmask speculators who stockpile products to create shortages have limited the price surge," the INS says. The price increase was also curbed by the increase in the frequency of “periodic markets throughout the country to help housewives obtain supplies at a lower cost.”
In its note, the INS recommends that the government should continue its combating actions to reduce the high cost of living. The actions it suggests are the maintenance of support for basic social services and minimizing the potential impact of Covid-19 on the supply of necessities by taking additional commercial measures that do not disrupt the supply chain.