Minister of Trade: no scarcity in oil, speculation and rumors are behind the imbalance between supply and demand

The Minister of Trade Kamel Rezzig denied the existence of a scarcity in table oil, stressing that speculation and ill-intended propaganda that promote this scarcity caused an imbalance between supply and demand due to a high demand by citizens for this basic substance.

Regarding the rumors that have spread recently that there is a scarcity in table oil in the markets, Rezzig indicated that “this substance is sufficiently available, but the rumors that were recently spread through media channels about a possible scarcity prompted citizens to change their consumer behavior and store table oil, thus affecting directly the market.”

The minister stressed that whenever a shortage of quantities is recorded in the market, it is directly compensated by injecting new quantities, recalling that the table oil crisis that occurred last Ramadan cost to the state 13 billion dinars in compensation to the operators in this field, especially since what was consumed during the month of Ramadan alone is equivalent to the amount consumed during the entire 5 months.

According to Rezzig, oil is currently being produced in factories in the provinces of Mascara and Oran, pending the entry into service of the factory located in the province of Jijel, which “will enable self-sufficiency” of this material.

It is worth noting that according to a new decree published last Wednesday in the latest issue of the Official Gazette, the maximum price for a 5-liter bottle of food oil was raised to 650 DA compared to 600 DA previously, while the prices of 2- liter and 1-liter bottles remained unchanged, i.e. 250 DA and 125 DA, respectively.

Meanwhile,  with regard to potatoes, whose prices recently increased to reach 140 dinars/kg in some areas of the country, the minister said that the recent period witnessed the lifting of quarantine procedures and the opening of restaurants and hotels, which prompted “dishonest” dealers to store this vegetable for the purpose of speculation, which led to an imbalance between supply and demand.

To face up to this situation, the instructions of the President of the Republic, Mr. Abdelmadjid Tebboune, were implemented, by preparing the trade sector, in cooperation with the services of the National Gendarmerie, for a “secret control” operation, which was launched since last September 25 and included the unannounced control of more than 1,000 warehouses and cold rooms across the country. As a result, quantities of more than 120,000 quintals (12 million kg) of stored potatoes were seized for speculation.

The operation resulted in the discovery of 50 warehouses of dealers engaged in speculative activity across 11 provinces. Files were sent to justice and a complaint was send to the Public Prosecutor.

Now, according to the minister, taking out the seized products to the market is being organized through the specialized retail establishment “Decoba”, one of the branches of the “Agrodev” public group, affiliated to the Ministry of Industry, which started last Thursday to sell potatoes at a regulated price of 50 dinars/ kg across select points of sale in 50 provinces.

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