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Rwanda: Rwanda’s Consumer Prices Decline Slightly in April

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Rwanda has started to see a slow but steady decline in consumer prices since the first months of 2023 compared to the tough inflation experienced in 2022.

According to the National Institute of Statistics of Rwanda (NISR), consumer prices increased by 17.8 per cent in April, down from 19.3 per cent in March, and 20.8 per cent in February.

Talking to The New Times earlier this year, Thierry Kalisa, Chief Economist of the National Bank of Rwanda, said that the inflation witnessed in 2022 was the worst-case scenario as a combination of external economic shock and poor domestic agricultural production.

Inflation – the rate at which commodity prices increase over a certain period of time – is calculated based on approximately 1,622 products in 12 urban centres of Rwanda. Data from NISR shows that prices of foodstuffs and non-alcoholic beverages increased by 36.8 per cent in April, a decrease when compared to 41.3 per cent in March.

Bread and cereals prices increased by 30.9 per cent, meat prices increased by 18.1 per cent, milk cheese and eggs by 24 per cent, and vegetables by 76.3 per cent.

The cost of housing, water, electricity, gas and other fuels increased by three per cent, transport rose by 8.5 per cent while restaurants and hotels increased by 11.8 per cent.

The slow decline in the speed of commodity price rises is attributed to different measures taken by the government to bring about economic stability.

Measures taken include injecting subsidies in fuel and fertilizers as well as tightening the Central Bank’s lending rate. Others include the recent decision to waive value-added tax on maize flour and rice as well as establishing maximum prices for maize, maize flour, rice and irish potatoes which are Rwanda’s major staple foods after an inspection by the Ministry of Trade and Industry observed unreasonable price hikes by some traders.

With the continued efforts, the central bank predicts inflation to decelerate towards the benchmark band between 2 per cent and 8 per cent in the second half of 2023.

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