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Senegal Waives Import Taxes to Lower Cost of Essential Goods

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President Bassirou Diomaye FAYE is due to address the nation on Saturday, July 13, 2024. This will be the to address his first hundred days of his stay in office.
Senegal's President, Bassirou Diomaye Faye

Senegal’s newly inaugurated government has unveiled significant measures to reduce the prices of essential goods, aiming to alleviate the cost-of-living pressures facing its citizens.

President Bassirou Diomaye Faye, who won the presidential election in March, had prioritised addressing high living costs during his campaign, and the new measures reckon his commitment to this promise.

The government secretary-general Ahmadou Al Aminou Lo announced that the price of a kilo (2.2 pounds) of the most widely consumed type of rice would be reduced by 40 CFA ($0.065, 0.061 euros).

Additionally, the cost of a baguette will decrease by 15 CFA (0.023 euros). The price cuts extend to other essential items, including cement and fertiliser, and will take effect in the coming days.

Highlighting the economic strain on Senegalese households, Lo noted that food expenses account for half of an average household’s budget.

He emphasised that the government would intensify monitoring to ensure compliance with the new pricing regulations by traders.

To finance these reductions, Budget Minister Cheikh Diba revealed that the government would waive taxes and customs duties for importers, effectively subsidising the price cuts.

The initiative will cost over 53.3 billion CFA (more than 81 million euros, $87 million).

However, the government did not specify the duration for which these measures would be in place.

With at least a third of Senegal’s population living in poverty and unemployment rates around 20 per cent, the price reductions aim to provide immediate relief to the country’s most vulnerable citizens.

The economic reforms come at a pivotal time for Senegal, which recently began oil production.

This week, Australian company Woodside Energy announced the commencement of production in Senegal’s first offshore project.

President Faye has assured that the revenues from the nation’s emerging gas and oil sectors will be managed responsibly to benefit the populace.

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