Bujumbura: soaring prices of basic necessities worrying

Bujumbura: soaring prices of basic necessities worrying

In the economic capital of Burundi, food prices keep rising, threatening the shopping basket, consumers complain. The authorities say the situation is caused by the low productivity in the country. Civil society is rather convinced that there is no consistent policy to support local producers. INFO SOS Médias Burundi

At the Ruziba market, south of Bujumbura, the sun is at its zenith. On the stalls protected by umbrellas, there are various food products.

Dressed in black and white, baskets in hand, two women officials who have come to stock up are distraught. They say that essential products they want to buy are really not accessible.

“These products are too expensive compared to our civil servant salaries. It does not work. We are very disappointed. Let us do what is necessary to bring down the prices”, says Isabelle.

“The price of a 5 liter can of oil has increased by more than 14 thousand francs. The kg of rice that we used to buy at 2,500 has gone up to 4,500 francs. It bothers us and is beyond us this economic crisis, ”describes Juliette, the other civil servant.

A surge in the prices of basic necessities is also observed at the Kinama market, north of the commercial city.

Food products including beans have practically doubled in price.

Locally produced foodstuffs that come from several localities in the country are affected by this price increase. These are palm oil, cassava flour, vegetables including cassava leaves, etc.

For palm oil, for example, the price of a 20-litre container has increased by more than 18,000 Burundian francs.

Traders mention the poor harvest and the shortage of fuel. Most carriers go to the black market, the quantities of fuel not being sufficient every day on the service stations.

Carriers say they have to raise prices so as not to work at a loss.

In addition, all products are also being increased on the market. The bag of cassava flour went from 70,000 to 100,000 francs. Bread made from wheat flour has seen a further price increase in recent months. Flour, which used to cost 4,000 francs, for example, currently sells for 6,500 francs.

Contacted in this regard, the Ministry of Commerce did not want to give several details.

“We will speak next month at a press conference which will be organized jointly with the Ministry of Finance,” said the spokesperson for the Ministry of Commerce.

In the small East African nation, in the countryside and in the cities, the inhabitants say they face a situation of extreme poverty which has been accompanied in recent months by a general increase in the price of essential products.

Recently, the trade union confederations asked the government to take measures aimed at “stabilizing prices and curbing the shock experienced by consumers, in particular civil servants”.

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