By NFOR Hanson Nchanji
Unscrupulous bar owners paid a huge price in Yaoundé on Saturday the 3rd of January when the national syndicate of exploiters of Cameroon beverage accompanied by competent authorities made an impromptu visit to some depots and discovered that some business men had increase prices of beer contrary to governments warning against the hike.
Their depots were sealed pending accompanied sanctions. Since the 2015 finance law increased taxes paid by brewery companies in Cameroon, which saw the modification of excise duty, from 25 to 40%, some bar owners have taken upon themselves to increase prices of beer even without an official statement from the Ministry of Commerce.
The controversy Cameroon Concord gathered came as a result of purchases made last year by some wholesalers who bought lots of drinks and stored them. They are now exploiting the new taxation increase to sell at a new price, which they bought at a discount in 2014. Some of these wholesalers created shortage to have reason for the increase. The Cameroon government through the minister of commerce has reiterated that there should be no such increase of prices of beer, at least not for now.
The national Union of Cameroon beverage exploiters (Synedeboc) is calling on the Cameroonian government to reconsider its decision on the 2015 finance law. According to body, increasing excise duty without increasing prices is a burden on operators of drinking spots and thus reduce their regular profit margins.
The Cameroonian government is blamed for their Bafia dance; it was the MINCOMMERCE that announced in late 2014 that prices of beer were going to increase but later reversed that decision when wholesalers had already created artificial scarcity.
Brewery companies for their part hold that prices this 2015 remains the same. Consumption of beer in Cameroon has increased by 20 million hectoliters a year, from about 600 in 2012 to 650 millions of hectoliters in 2014. Cameroonians are slaves to beer; they are ready to buy a bottle even at brake neck prices. When prices of fuel increased, they cried foul but when it was rumored prices of beer would increase; no one was ready to raise an alarm.