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Cooking oil produced locally in Gabon has become a rare and expensive product. It is sold for up to twice as much as a year ago, which has fueled the anger of the population. The government has intervened to ration and cap its price, but speculation continues for this basic necessity whose supply is lower than demand.
In all the markets of Libreville, all you have to do is open a microphone to hear the Gabonese vociferating following the surge in oil prices, but also the scarcity of Cuisin’or oil, a local brand very popular with households.
« There is no oil, this product is lacking in Gabon and it is expensive. A little thing like that is 2000 CFA francs per liter and we make that in Gabon », Complains this lady.
« We make oil in Gabon, but there is no oil because of Olam, he wants to become rich alone exclaims this other.
« It’s complicated for Gabon, while we have Olam making oil here, what’s wrong? A bottle of oil at 2,500 francs is really expensive for Gabonese households », Emphasizes this consumer again.
Faced with the nervousness of the populations, the government was obliged to communicate. Olam, which produces the oil in Gabon, is not the culprit, according to the statement read by Lié-José Moundounga, communications adviser to the Minister of Commerce.
« It turns out that some crooked wholesalers have voluntarily and unilaterally chosen to unbalance the market by withholding large quantities of products in order to increase their margin. Faced with such intolerable deviance widely denounced by the population, the government decided to reorganize the distribution chain of the product only to the wholesalers selected, in particular for greater Libreville. »
Three liters of oil per person
Accredited shops are therefore taken by storm. To satisfy everyone, no customer can buy more than three liters of local oil. These customers leave a shop empty-handed.
« It was this morning that I saw that we lined up as if we were a country at war to pay only three bottles of oil each, but it’s serious. Where are we going ? “, is indignant this customer.
This other gives his elements of understanding: It is total rationing. The government makes a decision, the neighborhood shopkeepers do what they want, the wholesalers do what they want because they’re speculating and that’s not good. And it is the final consumer who pays ».
In 2020, Gabon produced 70,300 tonnes of palm oil. The country, which expects a production of 129,000 tonnes by 2024, has also become a major exporter of cooking oil.