(Business in Cameroon) - Following the decision to increase drink prices by brewers, Sabc and Guinness Cameroon notably, early this month, the Cameroonian trade minister, Luc Magloire Mbarga Atangana (photo), called for a crisis meeting on March 6 in Yaoundé.
“When a brewing company plans to change the price of any product or even any service, it must first keep the ministry in charge of prices updated ; and the price department has 15 days to consider the file. No change can be applied if not approved by the ministry,” said Atangana, at the end of the meeting.
“They (the brewing companies) didn’t follow this process. Customer rights associations are also governed by the law of 6 May 2011, the framework law on consumer protection that lays down a number of principles, including the right to information. This has not been respected. There was a haste, there was a mistake in the method,” he added.
The official has however promised a new consultation framework with brewing companies to decide on new beverage prices. “I cannot foresee how much the new beer price will be. But in any case, as we say, everyone must understand, especially the industry, that without the consumer, there is no industry.”
As a reminder, Guinness increased prices of beer and non-alcoholic beverages on March 4, few days after Société anonyme des brasseries du Cameroun (Sabc). The companies explain they increased prices due to an “excessive” tax pressure. Indeed, the 2019 Finance Act introduced an augmentation of excise duties, concerning alcoholic beers, up to 5.5%. As a result, the price of alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages has risen by XAF25-100. Negotiations between the government and the brewers will therefore continue. But for the time being, the price hike is suspended.
Let’s note that the crisis meeting with the trade minister was attended by brewing companies, trade unions of distributors of brewery products, consumer rights associations and the Cameroon Alcohol Producers Association (CAPA).