Yaoundé (National Times)-The President of the Cameroon Consumers’ League (CCL), Delor Magellan Kamgaing, has hailed the efforts made by the Minister of Trade, Luc Margloire Mbarga Atangana to fight against illegal price hikes by some commercial entities in Cameroon.
Speaking to reporters during a press conference at the headquarters of the organisation in Yaoundé on Friday, 29 March 2019, Magellan Kamgaing said since the press release of the Minister on March 20, the Minister himself has descended to the field and sealed some shops which were violating the Ministerial decree by imposing illegal prices on consumers.
“When the prices were not respected, the Minister descended on the field, sealed some shops and gave five days to others to respect the homologated prices,” he said.
Delor Kamgaing, who said he was speaking after persistent rumours about price hikes, said the Minister does not decide prices of goods alone but together with economic operators and consumer rights organisations based on the 2011 law on consumer protection.
He urged consumers to use only the homologated prices as established by the Minister which he spelt out as follows; rice -25% sells at FCFA 320 per kilogram in Douala and FCFA 350 in Yaoundé, the difference being the price of transportation since Douala host the seaport. Meanwhile the -5% rice (lux) sells at FCFA 410 in Douala and Yaoundé FCFA 425. He urged consumers to be vigilant because unscrupulous businessmen can use the packaging of -25% for -5%.
Speaking in his capacity as Member of the Committee to homologate prices of fish in Cameroon, Kamgaing noted that Congelcam is the only company that has officially implemented the prices of fishery products as homologated by the Ministry of Trade which puts the price of the popular mackerel 20+ at between FCFA 1000 and FCFA 1200, while sardine sells at FCFA 750 per kilogram and bar at FCFA 1300 per kilogram.
When asked about the pricing scheme in other towns, he opined that after the homologation by the Minister, it is now incumbent on the various Regional Delegates to homologate the prices at their level taking into consideration local transportation.
Despite efforts made by the Government to reduce the cost of living in Cameroon, the President of CCL frowned at brewery companies which he said are operating an illegal price scheme.
He said the brewery companies in Cameroon have “unilaterally and “illegally” increased prices of their products without going through the official process which states that a price list must be submitted to the Ministry 15 days before and must be homologated by the Minister in accordance with consumer protection agencies.
He said during the meeting with the Minister, it was agreed that brewery companies would respect a price increase of FCFA 32s per product but unfortunately some products have been increased by FCFA 50 and FCFA 100 in total illegality.
Asked why the Government and their committee to protect consumers cannot sealed the brewery companies, he said the laws as enacted by the legislature gives them the latitude to implement such measures on drinking spots and not the companies itself.
Magellan Kamgaing praised economic operators who have already implemented the homologated prices and said his institution, would together work with the Government to make sure the rights of consumers are protected.
He also dispelled rumours about shortages in sugar and argued that SOSUCAM can satisfy national consumption. He alleged that the company produces 800 tonnes of sugar daily and currently has about 52,000 tonnes in stock which is above national consumption of about 15,000 tonnes monthly.
The press conference comes after uncoordinated increase in prices of some basic goods in the country with consumers faced with different prices at different spots. However, Magellan Kamgaing, who sounded powerless to defend certain rights of consumers, is counting on the consumers to shun prices which are not homologated.