Control teams are on hands to check artificial scarcity and price hikes nationwide.
Government has taken steps to ensure that prices of both alcoholic and non alcoholic drinks remain unchanged throughout end-of-year festive period. Luc Magloire Mbarga Atangana, Minister of Trade, held a consultation meeting with the national brewery industry on December 27 in Yaounde in that direction. During the meeting, it was agreed that while waiting for the publication by January 15, 2019, of the circular on budget execution, prices of drinks remain unchanged. The meeting was attended by representatives of Guinness Cameroon SA, Les Brasseries du Cameroun, and UCB among other brewery companies.
The Minister told Cameroon Tribune after the meeting that it had come to the notice of the ministry that some businessmen were already planning to cash in on the imminent increase in the prices of drinks, following a decision by lawmakers to increase taxes on drinks. He warned such speculators that “no consumer price increase will be tolerated within this period, particularly during the celebration of the New Year festivities and the days ahead”. He noted that until the circular from the Ministry of Finance is published by mid-January 2019, no increase in prices will be authorized. Minister Luc Magloire Atangana also noted that control teams of the ministry will be on the field to crack down “in a firm and rigorous manner” any defaulter.
It is worth noting that the crackdown will not be limited to businessmen who increase prices, but will also concern those who create artificial scarcity by preserving products in their shops to sell when the increase in prices is officially announced through the publication of the circular.
According to the Minister, the move falls in line with the responsibilities of the ministry which include among others, the fight against high cost of living and protection of consumers.
The decision leading to the impending increase in cost of brewery products is contained in the innovations of the Finance bill for fiscal year 2019, particular in the area of taxes and customs duties.