The Tunisian market is currently experiencing a significant shortage in the supply of sugar, which has naturally caused the grumbling of citizens who had seen others especially with regard to subsidized food staples.
President of the Tunisian association to inform consumers and rationalize consumption, Lotfi Riahi, confirmed having received a flood of complaints and requests in this regard, stressing that many have been subject to extortion practices, some traders do not hesitate to sell the kilogram of sugar at 3 dinars.
Riahi said in a statement to “African Manager” that the shortage recorded was caused by an impetuous rush on that product as well as the proliferation of speculative and monopoly practices and operations, noting that the purchasing power of Tunisians had declined significantly in recent years while, at the same time, the prices of various products have seen sharp increases.
18 thousand tons to cope with the shortage
To review the market situation and the measures of the Ministry of Trade, especially in this season of consumption, African Manager contacted Houssemeddine Touiti, Director General of Competition and Economic Studies, who confirmed that the local market is struggling with a “turmoil”, noting immediately that the supply has begun to return to its normal pace, according to him.
He also said the Ministry has begun to inject about 18,000 tons of sugar on the markets to cope with the shortage, adding that the teams of economic control have intensified their campaigns to limit and prevent all fraud operations.
Regarding the quantities distributed daily, they are about 1 100 tons to overcome this shortage.
It should be recalled in this context that employees of the Tunisian Sugar Company in Beja have observed a sit-in last February in response to a call from their trade unions and with the support of the UGTT, to request the supply of fuel which is used to operate manufacturing units, which the Tunisian Oil Distribution Company has stopped supplying because of unpaid arrears.
The union party had then warned against the possibility of shortage of sugar on the market, because the Beja factory meets up to 50% of consumption needs of this commodity, knowing that it is threatened to stop its activity given the lack of energy fuel.
Houssem Touiti, said the reform of the subsidy system will overcome three scourges, namely smuggling, monopoly and waste that harm the state coffers, denying what has circulated about the abandonment of subsidy. It will go to those who deserve it, he stressed.
Houssem Touitti did not fail to point out that the gradual lifting of subsidies will begin from 2023 to continue over a period of 4 years, making known that the government will adopt a number of accompanying measures in order to preserve the purchasing power.