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Businessmen, Government Fix Prices Of Basic Commodities 

By Leocadia Bongben

Government officials and economic operators have agreed to cut to size the prices of basic commodities for a period of six months. The prices were agreed upon after a series of meetings presided at by the Minister of Trade, Luc Malgloire Mbarga Atangana, last weekend. The outcome was the signing of separate agreements with businessmen on the new prices.

However, despite the agreements, fears are rife that they might not be respected. This is due to the fact that despite the Presidential Decree of September 30 2006, exempting payment of customs duties on the importation of basic commodities, prices have not significantly reduced in the market. Again, after a new protocol was signed on March 2008; no significant impact has been felt.

Bread Price Drops

The new prices, to take effect from July 1, have one significant innovation in that the price of bread has been reduced by FCFA 25. A loaf of bread of 200g, given to distributors at FCFA 150, would be sold for FCFA 125. This was the agreement reached with bakers’ trade union.
The price of bread dropped following a drop in the price of flour at the international market. Henceforth, a 50kg bag of standard baking flour would be sold at FCFA 16,500 in Douala and FCFA 17,000 in Yaounde while a 50 kg bag of special flour would be sold at 17,500 in Douala and FCFA 18,000 in Yaoundé. The new prices have witnessed an FCFA 1000 drop.

Bread Seized From Bakeries

Meanwhile, the control brigade of the Ministry of Commerce seized about 500 loaves of bread from bakeries. At Tsinga, 72 loaves were seized for failure to respect the prices, 75 at Carriere, 125 at Mokolo 41 and Central Boulangeri etc. A bakery was sealed at the Emana neighbourhood, and others given warnings to abide by the price by the next control. The control teams that are current patrolling bakeries have promised to ensure that the prices are respected.

For fish, major distributors like Congelcam and Queen Fish have agreed to reduce prices by FCFA 75-100. The price of the different types of Maqereau would range from FCFA 825 down to 450 depending on the size. The specie of fish known as thon that sells from FCFA 700 would be sold at FCFA 600; sardine would sell at FCFA450 and bar Corvina would sell for between FCFA 950 and 875 depending on the size.

However, roast fish vendor at the Damas neighbourhood, Charlotte Etoi, has indicated that the prices have not changed. Consumer associations and some of the businessmen were of the opinion that for the prices to be applied, the price control teams should perform their task of ensuring that the prices are respected.

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