The Minister of Trade held separate concertation meetings with stakeholders of different sectors as well as consumer organisations on January 15, in Yaounde.
Producers, importers and distributors of some basic commodities such as rice, fish, cooking oil (palm oil and vegetable oil), and flour amongst other necessities have assured consumers of the availability of these products in the market. They made the assurance to the Minister of Trade, Luc Magloire Mbarga Atangana, during separate concertation meetings with the various stakeholders. Beginning with the rice sector, the Minister assured the public that rice sold in the country is of good quality contrary to rumours that went viral on the social media on the existence of ‘plastic rice’ under the Broli mark. This was affirmed by the President of Rice Importers and other stakeholders who all stated that there are rigorous controls to ensure that all what is imported or produced in Cameroon conforms to quality and standards norms. Rice importers assured that the available stock can go up to two months while one of the local producers, SEMRY stated that the enterprise will put some 35,000 tons of rice in the market. Minister Luc Magloire Mbarga just like other stakeholders noted that local production of rice is far below national demand. Thus, he urged investors to invest in local production of rice in order to limit importation. Accessibility and cost of made-in Cameroon rice was also deplored by the Trade Minister despite the high quality of the product. Cameroon, he said, imports 600,000 tons of rice annually. Prices of Alcoholic Drinks Unchanged Meanwhile, in another concertation meeting with brewery companies, distributors and consumers’ organisations, the Minister of Trade stressed that the prices of alcoholic drinks and spirits remains unchanged till further notice despite the imposition of taxes on them in the 2019 Finance Law. He explained that the producers are yet to submit the price ceiling to the administration which has 15 days to react and open negotiations. He thus urged the producers to scrupulously respect the law as the control and repressive services of his ministry is on the field to check arbitrary price hikes. By press time, the Minister of Trade and his collaborators were meeting with stakeholders in the cooking oil sector as well as flour and pasta dealers. The objective of the concertation meeting, the Minister stated, was to ascertain that these products are available qualitatively and quantitatively in the local market. It was also intended to hand down government’s policy on the promotion of Cameroonian label.