Cooking oil scarcity doubles prices in Sao Tome and Principe

16 January 2007

Sao Tome, Sao Tome and Principe, 16 Jan – A sell-out of cooking oil in Sao Tome and Principe has led to the price of that commodity doubling on the archipelago and government intervention, officials said.

Due to its scarcity on the market, the price of a liter of cooking oil has risen from 16,000 dobras (the Sao Tome currency), or US$1.2 to 35,000 dobras or US$2.6.

The doubling of the price of the product led the Sao Tome and Principe Ecoonomy Minister, Cristina Dias to hold an emergency meeting with the Chamber of Commerce and several retailers in order to find a solution to re-supply the market.

Sources from the Economy Ministry told Macauhub that within a week or two the Sao Tome market would be re-supplied by emergency imports with two shopping centers on the archipelago acting as intermediaries.

Sao Tome newspaper, Correio da Semana, in an article about the crisis last weekend said that the sell out of cooking oil stocks had been due to insufficient imports because of the exchange rate and increased prices on international markets.

Another Sao Tome newspaper, Boletim Informativo, said that the “price is enormous and affects the buyer’s pocket” in a country where over 50 percent of the population lives below the poverty line on less than a dollar a day.

Just over a month ago, the government of Sao Tome and Principe decided to make several foodstuffs exempt from customs taxes to promote economic development and combat poverty.

Although the country produces palm oil, cooking oil from abroad is considered to be one of the staples of the Sao Tome diet. (macauhub)