After months of continuous soaring of food prices, among other products on the market, sugar and meat prices have finally gone down.
The development follows interventions from the Rwanda Consumer Protection Authority (RICA), which recently warned against abattoirs and butcheries that had hiked meat prices across the country. They were instructed to ensure use of standard scales and avoid further hiking of prices.
Due to scarcity, beef prices had risen and a Kilogram of meat was costing Rwf 4,500, but now it is costing Rwf 3,500. Sugar was costing Rwf2000 but it has now gone down to Rwf 1,500.
A butcher, who preferred to stay anonymous in a conversation with The New Times, confirmed the proposed changes saying that, “The government has now set standard prices; one kilogram of meat is now costing 3,500 Rwf.”
Nevertheless, prices for other commodities are still high, with some still soaring.
“The prices on the market today are higher than the ones we had yesterday, and we think we might find higher ones tomorrow,” said another merchant who also chose to stay anonymous.
Traders and consumers are worried about the impact of inflation that these prices may cause.
On the list of expensive commodities, there is cooking oil which used to cost 52,000 Rwf, for 5 litres, but it has now risen to Rwf 69,500.
Rice is now costing Rwf 32,000, while it was Rwf 26,000 on the market. A bar of soap which cost Rwf 500 has reached Rwf 1000.
Another challenge merchants point out is traders who hoard products with the intent of benefiting from future price increases.
Products like Mayonnaise, Baby diapers, cooking oil are on the list of the products that are hard to find on the market.
“Because people are afraid of selling their products at a low price, they keep them and lie that there are no products in the store, and then some products end up missing on the market,” a trader said.
Dr. Herman Musahara, an economist says there is need for more government intervention to help reduce the consistent soaring of prices, in order for the consumers to not be affected a lot.
“Some initiatives can be put in place; try to use substitutes or produce and use locally produced products to dampen the effect for consumers and not be completely affected.”