Senegal’s new govt reduces prices of food items, cement, others

In a bid to address the rising cost of living amid high unemployment and inflation, Senegal’s newly elected government announced on Thursday a series of price cuts on essential commodities including rice, oil, and bread.

President Bassirou Faye, who assumed office following the March election, had promised during his campaign to tackle the high living costs that burden the West African nation, which is heavily dependent on imports.

The cost of living has been a prominent issue in the media and on social platforms, highlighting its urgency for many Senegalese citizens.

Among the new measures, the price of a kilogram (2.2 pounds) of the most commonly consumed rice will drop by 40 CFA ($0.065 or 0.061 euros), and the price of a baguette will decrease by 15 CFA (0.023 euros), the government announced during a press conference.

These reductions, which also apply to cement and fertilizer, are set to be implemented within the coming days, according to Ahmadou Al Aminou Lo, the government’s secretary-general.

Lo emphasized that food expenditures account for half of a Senegalese household’s budget and assured that there will be increased monitoring to ensure compliance with the new pricing.

Budget Minister Cheikh Diba explained that the government would cover the cost of these price cuts, amounting to 53.3 billion CFA (more than 81 million euros or $87 million), by waiving taxes and customs duties for importers.

The government has not specified the duration of these measures.

This initiative comes at a crucial time as approximately one-third of Senegal’s population lives in poverty and unemployment hovers around 20 percent.

Additionally, Senegal recently became part of the oil-producing nations, with Australian company Woodside Energy commencing production in the country’s first offshore project this week.

President Faye has pledged that the revenues from Senegal’s gas and oil resources will be managed responsibly.

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