CAMEROON – Beverage industry stakeholders in Cameroon have threatened to hike the prices of beverage commodities amid claims of increased tax burden for producer companies. 

The unions including the National Union of Hygienic Beverage Distributors of Cameroon (Synasdibohycam) and the National Union of Cameroon Beverage Retailers (Synedeboc), have since announced plans to unilaterally raise beverage prices on May 6 and May 10 respectively. 

Phillippe Tagne Noubisi, CEO Of Dovv has clarified that the new price hikes planned by Synasdibohycam will mainly affect beers from the Société Anonyme des Boissons du Cameroun (SABC). 

According to Phillippe, small bottles will see a price increase of CFA50 (US$0.082) per unit, while large beer bottles overlook a CFA100 (US$0.16) increase per unit. 

On the other hand, Synedeboc, chaired by Roger Tapa, plans a CFA100 increase across all beverages. Both unions cry foul of an increased burden due to “the multiplication of their tax burdens.” 

While responding to the price hike threats, Commerce Minister Luc Magloire Mbarga Atangana reiterated that beer and healthy beverages are included in the list of products and services ‘subject to prior and compulsory price approval by the administration.’ 

Mbarga said, “In case of non-compliance, the offending trader or professional may, in addition to possible criminal sanctions, be liable to an administrative fine representing 10% of their annual turnover, or even suspension of their activities.” 

To solve the ongoing dispute, Mbarga has scheduled a meeting on May 16 with beverage industry stakeholders, calling for dialog and consultation rather than confrontation. 

Despite the invite to a dialogue meeting, brewers argue that beverage prices in the market have already increased, terming the increase unofficial and neither beneficial to the beverage industry nor to the producers. 

For example, although the recommended price for a 65 cl beer is CFA650 (US$1.07), it is nearly impossible to purchase it for less than CFA700 (US$1.15), except when sold for takeaway. 

The brewers attribute the increase in prices to rising production costs urging the government to raise beverage prices, a call that has severally gone unanswered since the last official increase in 2019. 

In December 2023, the Association of Alcohol Producers of Cameroon (CAPA), which includes SABC, Guinness Cameroon (recently acquired by SABC), Union Camerounaise des Brasseries (UCB), Société de Fabrication des Vins du Cameroun (Sofavinc), and Société Camerounaise de Fermentations (Fermencam), asked the government to increase beer and soft drink prices by CFA50 due to the increasing production costs. 

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