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Violation of rice prices: Importers and sellers have enriched themselves on the backs of consumers, Trade Minister promises financial penalties

The Minister of Trade (Mincommerce), Luc Magloire Mbarga Atangana, who denounced and condemned this practice in his communiqué of 22 September 2023 to importers and sellers, announced financial penalties based on the relevant provisions of the law of 21 December 2015 governing commercial activity in Cameroon.

(EcoFinances) – Officially, the various types of rice sold on the country’s various markets (Douala and Yaoundé in particular) must not exceed the sum of 470 FCFA per kilogram at retailers, according to the updated prices of this cereal agreed with importers and sellers. However, many of them have not seen fit to respect the agreed rice prices in force in Cameroon in recent months, according to a press release from the Minister of Trade (Mincommerce), Luc Magloire Mbarga Atangana, dated 22 September 2023, which denounces and condemns this market practice.

The head of trade issues in Cameroon is basing his decision on the conclusions of the technical meeting held in his department on 20 September, chaired by the Director of Metrology, Quality and Prices, following a consensus analysis of the price structure based on supporting documents provided by importers and sellers themselves.

On the basis of this document, it was found that « the selling prices of rice currently charged in the markets are far higher than those that should have been, in view of the price structure examined and agreed by common accord ». Above all, it follows that « the various players in the distribution chain have reaped significant capital gains, to the detriment of consumers ».

Faced with this situation, Mincommerce is announcing financial penalties against offenders on the basis of the relevant provisions of the law of 21 December 2015 governing commercial activity in Cameroon, with regard to unlawful price increases and unlawful pricing practices, which provide in particular for a financial penalty of 10% of the turnover achieved by the offending trader or professional. « This work could be carried out by the National Brigade of Control and Repression of Fraud, operator by operator, over the period in question », he promises, while reminding importers and sellers of the updated rice prices in force in the country.

In the middle, Luc Magloire Mbarga Atangana, Minister of Trade, during a market price check on cereals.

Agreed prices for rice in Cameroon

According to updated rice prices in Cameroon, 25% broken Indian rice is sold in Douala at CFAF 405/kg by the importer, CFAF 415/kg by the wholesaler and CFAF 425/kg by the retailer; while in Yaoundé it costs CFAF 405/kg by the importer, CFAF 435/kg by the wholesaler and CFAF 445/kg by the retailer. Indian 20% broken rice is sold in Douala at CFAF 375 per kg by the importer, CFAF 358 by the wholesaler and CFAF 395 by the retailer. In Yaoundé, the same type of rice is sold at the same price by the importer, compared with 405 FCFA by the wholesaler and 415 FCFA by the retailer.

Indian 5% broken rice is sold at 405 FCFA per kg (in Yaoundé and Douala), compared with 410 FCFA/kg at the Douala wholesaler and 430 FCFA at the Yaoundé wholesaler. The same rice is sold at FCFA 425 and FCFA 445 respectively by the wholesalers in Douala and Yaoundé. Partboiled Indian rice is sold at CFAF 395/kg at the Yaoundé and Douala importers. Wholesalers in Douala and Yaoundé sell it for FCFA 405/kg and FCFA 425/kg respectively. The same category is sold at 415 FCFA/kg by the wholesaler in Douala, compared with 435FCFA/kg by the wholesaler in Yaoundé.

Thai 5% rice costs 430 FCFA/kg from the importer in Douala and Yaoundé, while wholesalers in Douala and Yaoundé sell it for 440 and 460 FCFA/kg respectively. Wholesalers in Douala and Yaoundé sell the same rice at 450 and 470 FCFA/kg respectively to retailers. Finally, Thai Parboiled rice is sold by the importer in Douala and Yaoundé at CFAF 410/kg, while wholesalers in Douala and Yaoundé sell it at CFAF 420/kg and CFAF 440/kg respectively. Retailers in Douala and Yaoundé sell the same rice at CFAF 470 and CFAF 430/kg respectively.

However, this price list has not been applied to the letter on the national market in recent months. Hence the financial penalties that will now be imposed on offenders.

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