Although the Cameroon-Nigeria borders at Ekok and others in the South West Region were re-opened on November 22, 2017, businessmen in Kumba say their activities have not yet regained normalcy. Businessmen who have increased prices of foodstuff like edible oils claim the hike is a result of the social tensions that have stalled business in the city. Such is the case with prices of basic commodities in the Kumba Main Market. The market opens its doors to the public on Wednesdays and Saturdays. Dominic Nkwelle who runs a wholesale shop called “Family Store” told CBT that prices of most goods in his store have been increased. Among the varieties of rice in his store is 25 kilogram sack of Naima rice which was sold at FCFA 8 500 before the border closure- It is currently sold for FCFA 9300. A 5-litre vegetable oil of Oilio brand costs FCFA 6500 from FCFA 6200. There are several brands of bottled wine in his shop to which he says an increase of about FCFA 200 to 450 have been added to the prices. But the prices of retailed vegetable oil sold without bottles remain unchanged.
The drama continues in the beef sector. Ndula Abraham, a butcher, said a kilogram of beef with bones costs FCFA 2500 and a kilogram of meat without bones is worth FCFA 3000. Dominic Nkwelle and Abraham Ndula noted that the price hike is not related to the festive period. They maintained that goods across the border have not been flowing as before, causing shortage in supply. Both businessmen were in agreement that business turnover is slow due to the crisis in the Anglophone Regions. “But we are hopeful that things will be better next week as many people will flood the market to shop for Christmas and New Year Day celebrations. We equally expect goods to come from Nigeria,” Nkwelle said.
The fish sector is not different. In one of the cold stores at SONAC Street Kumba, where clients were busy selecting fishes of their choice, a kilogram of mackerel previously sold at FCFA 1200 was sold for FCFA 1300. The cold store manager, who spoke to CBT while serving clients, said the business is booming. She was cheerful that profit margin during this festive period is large. The border does not affect her since the supply of fish is from Douala.