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Amid Acute Shortage, Algeria Bans Minors From Buying Cooking Oil

Algeria is facing a severe shortage of cooking oil

January 12, 2022

Rabat - Algeria’s government is facing another controversy after its decision to ban minors from buying cooking oil amid a severe shortage of the commodity.

Algerian news outlet TSA reported that the decision comes as the country faces another cooking oil crisis in less than a year.

According to the report, the government also capped the prices for oil, a product that is increasingly difficult to find in Algerian stores.

“Faced with a crisis, the government does not seem to know how to tackle this tension on cooking oil,” TSA said, adding that the government’s uncertainty and apparent cluelessness is “the least that can be said in view of the decisions taken by the authorities concerned since the start of the first shortage, spring 2021.”

Spring 2021 marked Ramadan, the Islamic fasting month when similar necessary products are highly used among Muslims.

Algerian news reports documented crowds of people rushing to supermarkets to buy edible oil.

Kamek Rezig, the country’s Minister of Commerce has confirmed that the decision to ban minors from buying cooking oil entered into force on January 6.

Justifying the measure, he said it is intended to fight against speculation.

“We have found that minors are used in speculation,” he said.

Amid the severe shortage of cooking oil in markets, some people ask their “children to go buy it, store it, or resell it,” TSA reported.

The Algerian news outlet recalled the cooking oil crisis that took place in the spring of 2021.

Recalling Algeria’s cooking oil crisis last spring, TSA noted Algeria also banned the sale of subsidized cooking oil bottles for one to five-liter to professionals and businesses in October 2021.

This is not the first time in recent months that Algerian authorities have had to resort to draconian, controversial measures when faced with soaring prices and lack of necessary alimentary products.

Last year in November, Algerie Part Plus highlited the economic crisis caused by the soaring prices of basic food products.

The news outlet said Algeria is increasingly relying on importing basic food products due to “chronic shortages” of consumer goods in the wake of the COVID-19 crisis.

“Vegetables or fruits prices can double before going down again and relapsing for lack of consumers who are ready to pay hundreds of Algerian dinars for a few KG [of products],” the news outlet said.