Cibitoke: general increase in the prices of basic necessities

Cibitoke: general increase in the prices of basic necessities

A generalized spike in stuff price is observed across the communes of Cibitoke province (north-west Burundi) with people asking the government to fix the matter. The governor warns speculators saying they will be punished. INFO SOS Médias Burundi

All the six communes of the province of Cibitoke are suffering a dizzying rise in the prices of nearly all foodstuffs.

Prices have doubled for beans, rice and cassava flour for example as noted SOS Médias Burundi.

Wholesalers reckon this shortage is causd by the insuffiency of agricultural products in other regions following the vagaries of the weather which contributed to a significant drop in production.

Another issue is the increase in the cost of transport following the fuel shortage and the excessively high taxes collected at several crossing points, which drives up prices.

“Life has become too expensive in Cibitoke”, complains a sixty-year-old met in the capital of the commune of Rugombo.

This civil servant for more than 20 years also explains “that currently providing health care has become a luxury”.

Medicines’ prices have also gone up. A sick guard at the provincial hospital is worried.

“The nursing staff in various health establishments only prescribe drugs that must be collected from pharmacies. At the level of pharmacies, the prices are not up to the purchasing power of the sick”, he regrets.

Drinks got very expensive too

Amstel and the Primus, whose scarcity is generalized in the province, have seen their prices go from 2500 francs to 3000 and from 1700 to 2000 Burundian francs respectively. The two beers being the most consumed in Burundi. And the more one moves away from the urban town, the higher the price.

“Worse, the bars are in most cases run by members of the CNDD-FDD party who excel in speculation. For unfounded reasons, bars owned by opposition supporters are often forced to close. The reopening is conditioned by the payment of bribes”, insist young traders from Mabayi and Rugombo near the border with Rwanda.

They claim that more than twenty bars were closed in a month. Cement has also become a rare commodity even though it is produced locally in Cibitoke.

And more only traders close to the party in power can be supplied. In turn, they speculate on prices, raising the official government price of a 50 kg bag of cement from 28,500 to 37,000 francs.

Such a situation, as explained by an expert in macro-economy established in Cibitoke for more than a decade, is likely to plunge the population into extreme poverty.

Asked to comment, the governor of Cibitoke Carême Bizoza does not deny the increase in the price of most basic necessities but refuses to index the responsibility to members of the presidential party.

Mr. Bizoza warns all speculators that sanctions are on the way.

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