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Senegal’s govt slashes prices of goods, removes taxes, customs duties

President Bassirou Diomaye Faye | File Image

Senegal forgoes taxes and customs duties on importers

By James Musa

Senegal’s new government has announced price cut on some essential commodities – rice, oil, bread, cement, and fertilizer – in response to the growing cost of living amid high unemployment and inflation rates.

The measure came at a time prices of essential commodities are hitting rooftop in Nigeria, with apparent lack of price control mechanism.

Senegal’s Secretary General, Ahmadou Al Aminou Lo, who announced the cheery news, explaned that the price reductions would be implemented in the coming days.

This move was part of President Bassirou Diomaye Faye’s efforts to fulfill his campaign promise to tackle the high living costs in the West African nation, which relies heavily on imports.

During a media conference on Thursday, the government detailed that the price of a kilogram (2.2 pounds) of the most commonly consumed type of rice will drop by 40 CFA ($0.065, 0.061 euros), and the cost of a baguette will be reduced by 15 CFA (0.023 euros).

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The government also indicated that spending on food accounts for half of a typical Senegalese household’s budget.

Lo emphasised that there would be increased monitoring to ensure traders comply with the new prices.

Budget Minister Cheikh Diba explained that to subsidise the price cuts, the government would forgo taxes and customs duties on importers.

The measures were projected to cost 53.3 billion CFA (over 81 million euros, $87 million).

However, the government has not specified how long these measures will remain in effect.

With at least a third of Senegal’s population living in poverty and an unemployment rate around 20 per cent, the price reductions aim to provide significant relief to citizens.

In a related development, Senegal has joined the ranks of oil-producing nations.

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