By Tata Mbunwe
Cement has become the latest commodity in Cameroon to witness price hike.
A 50kg bag of cement now sells at between FCFA 6,000 and 6,600, up from FCFA 5,000.
State media CRTV, reported during it’s 7:30pm prime time news on Thursday, April 7, that the price hike in cement is due to the fact that some wholesalers are hoarding the product to create scarcity and then increase prices.
Cement has now joined a list of several other commodities, most of them consummables, which have witnessed price hikes recently.
Cameroon’s National Institute of Statistics last month said the country was witnessing a 7.6 percent rise in commodities, but the prices of some goods have risen more than that.
The price of nearly every consumer good has risen during the last two months.
From milk to bread, salt, oil, soap – the prices have increased.
Bread, for example, witnessed a 25 percent increase in its price from FCFA 100 to 125.
Construction materials like cement and roofing sheets are also the latest goods to enter the price hike list.
Flour, which previously cost FCFA 19,500, now sells at 22,500.
This has been blamed on the Russia-Ukraine war, which is reported to have triggered an upsurge in global wheat prices by 21 percent.
The effect is very visible in Cameroon where most of wheat consumed in the country is imported from Russia.
Cameroon’s Enterprise Upgrading Office, BMWOverall, the country spent close to FCFA 150 billion on wheat imports in 2020.
Of the 300,000 tons of wheat Cameroon imported, Russia was the main supplier that year followed by Canada (144,000 ton), France (117,000 tons), and the USA (54,000 tons), the BMN study explained.
The war with Ukraine has affected Russia’s wheat exports, and Cameroon, like the rest of the world, is facing the effect.
In Bamenda, Northwest regional headquarters, bakers staged a one-week strike in March and closed all bakeries, before later reopening them, due to a sudden increase in the price of flour.
When they resumed production, they raised the prices of bread and reduced quality. In Buea, Southwest region, a loaf of bread (Kumba bread) now costs FCFA 400, instead of 300.
Meanwhile basic commodities like salt and seasoning cubes have also become more expensive, and some retailers in Buea now sell eight, instead of 10 seasoning cubes for FCFA 100.