Since Sunday, the state has stepped up its fight against traders who raise the prices of certain products such as bread, which are still blocked. Every day, 400 inspectors from the Ministry of Trade and Industry randomly check companies in the country and do not hesitate to sanction them.
as reported from Abidjan, Youn Gourlay
Inspector Aristide Tetialy arrives unexpectedly at a bakery in Abidjan and challenges the manager: “The staff here who told us you didn’t sell bread for 150?” The baguettes at 150 francs (0.23 eurocents) went like hot cakes. . Only the most expensive ones remain on the shelves, those at 200 francs. In this inflationary period, the government has frozen the prices of certain foodstuffs, including those for bread, and forces bakers to also offer the cheapest baguettes for small wallets: “Because there are people who don’t have the purchasing power for 200 francs. We must be able to protect this population group”.
Fines for offenders The merchant will therefore receive a notification and will pay a fine of between 500,000 (760 euros) to 5 million CFA francs (7,600 euros). A decision he finds unfair: “We really want everyone to be able to pay at a low price, but the ingredients we put in the bread must also be affordable, so we can also produce”.
In three months, the inspectors sanctioned 2,000 companies, guilty of raising the price of food with a ceiling or, as here, of not offering the cheapest products. Soumahoro Ben N’faly, president of SOS vie chere, speaks on behalf of consumers and encourages them to be more involved: “Consumers must stop complaining in their living room or in the maquis. When a ceiling price is not respected, you turn to a consumer organization or call the Ministry of Trade and Industry”.
The state has just announced that in the event of a repeat, certain businesses risk closing.