By YUSINYU OMER in Yaounde
Government is taking measures to curb the deepening fuel crisis that is causing a stir in the country.
In a press release issued on Monday July 11, 2022, the minister of water resources and energy assured the public that measures have already been taken by the government to remedy the situation. He explained that the month of June alone had as subsidy the sum of FCFA 80 billion making it a total of FCFA 317 billion just for the first half of the current year.
According to the release, 28,000 cubic metres of Super, 22,000 cubic metres of Gasoil and 12,500 cubic metres of Jet A1 are currently being unloaded and gradually released for consumption. In addition, further additional volumes of 88,000 cubic metres of Gasoil and 35,000 cubic metres of Super, are available and will be unloaded in the coming days.
Car owners, bike riders as well as users of machines that require fuel to move and function have for some days go without using those necessities due to fuel scarcity in the country.
Some taxi drivers were so desperate for fuel that they slept on forecourts of petrol stations. Images of people lining up in front of service stations and waiting for the precious liquid have also been making rounds on social media.
Cameroon, it should be noted is not the only African country to have witnessed shortage. Burundi, Senegal, South Africa, Kenya, Nigeria etc are some of the African countries that have faced the same crises in recent times.
According to the minister of water resources and energy Gaston Eloundou Essomba, Western sanctions on Russia have led to a rise in the cost of fuel imports thereby causing the fuel shortage witnessed in the country.
A truck driver transporting goods from the Douala sea port has been stuck in Yaoundé for days for lack of fuel. He said he is not sure he will arrive in the Chadian capital, N’djamena, within a week as expected and that if the situation continues, he will definitely run short of money to settle parking fees for his truck, buy food and pay for his lodging in Yaoundé.
Moise Vokeng, president of the Cameroon Professional Transporters Network, said transporters are surprised that the government of Cameroon has not been able to provide diesel in the country for close to two weeks. He said perishable goods are going bad on their way to Chad and the Central African Republic. He added that the government should immediately import fuel, or the economic consequences of a fuel shortage will be difficult to contain.
“The economic costs of shortages are huge”, said an economist. “They bring commerce to a grinding halt, shut the millions of businesses that have to generate their own electricity and force holidaymakers to cancel trips for lack of flights and vehicles”, he added. “This is a blow to tourism, a large contributor to GDP in many African countries. The social impact is large, too. Hospitals cannot get drugs and ambulances are immobilised. All this makes politicians jumpy. Anger at shortages can quickly erupt in the streets”, he lamented