Soaring energy prices are hitting the overseas territories hard, whose supply depends on aviation and sea freight, prompting the public authorities to seek solutions to avoid the bankruptcy of companies and the impoverishment of households.
In New Caledonia, while the cost of living is already around 30% higher than in mainland France, for example, prices increased by 18.6% for energy and 5.6% for food, according to figures from Isee (Institute of Statistics and Economic Studies of New Caledonia).
President of the CPME in this South Pacific territory, Yann Lucien is worried about the consequences of this inflation on the most fragile companies. “Companies, which were already in difficulty, could have revived thanks to the PGE (loans guaranteed by the State) taken out during the health crisis, but they are not able to do so because of the impacts of the war in Ukraine. All these boxes that were on the tangent go into liquidation or recovery”he testifies.
Despite an agreement on fuels with importers, the unions of rollers (small entrepreneurs who transport nickel ore on behalf of mining companies) and construction blocked fuel depots in Nouméa for three days in mid-August to protest against rising diesel priceswhich they believe threatens their business.
All these companies that were on the tangent are going into liquidation or recovery”
Yann Lucien, President of the CPME
In French Polynesia, the CEO of Air Tahiti Nui, Michel Monvoisin, also notes that with inflation, “it is not profitable for companies to fly to Polynesia. Either companies will stop or they will make losses”.
Whereas fuel already accounts for 30% of expensesthese companies cannot raise prices because “there is an air overcapacity to Polynesia” and they are rather “on permanent promotion” to fill their planes.
In Guyana, where the economy “is dependent on public procurement”, the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Guyana (CCIG) is asking for its part “that inflation be taken into account in the contracts already made, signed, before the price increase”, indicates its president Carine Sinaï-Bossou.
Because “at the time when the public contracts were filed, notified, there was less inflation and the business leaders who won them can no longer respond to them at this price today”she explains.
Individuals are also suffering from this increase in fuel costs in the Overseas Territories.
To combat rising prices in Mayotte, where the poverty rate is five times higher than that of FranceState, Departmental Council and TotalEnergies Mayotte announced Thursday that their joint work had resulted in a drop in the price of gasoline at the pump by 52 cents (7.4 euro cents per liter thanks to the Departmental Council, 25 cts/ L by the State and 20 cts/L by TotalEnergies until October 31).
The department is making an effort of 1.2 million euros over three months through the dock dues, said its president Ben Issa Ousseni (LR).
“Today it’s fuel but we continue to work on other basic necessities here”said Ben Issa Ousseni, calling on the port management company and the island’s distributors to join this movement and “contribute to the effort on prices in the territory”.
Prefect Thierry Suquet reminded him of the signing of the Quality Price Shield (BQP) when the Minister Delegate for Overseas Jean-François Carenco visited the territory on August 22.
Set up in 2012, the BQP is a mechanism for regulating the price increases of certain basic necessities, specific to the Overseas Territories.
On the Minister’s initiative, “we have therefore initiated a process of reflection around BQP+”, with the idea “to introduce a qualitative, readable approach into the BQP”and the goal of signing it “for the end of September”, said the prefect.