A Matter for All 10 Regions [opinion]

A caller during the early morning CRTV call-in programme “Morning Safari” spoke of the difficulty of obtaining cooking gas in Kumbo, going further to indicate that the “official” selling price for the commodity in Kumbo was FCFA8,500. The programme’s host quickly corrected the caller, saying that FCFA8,500 could not be an official price, but that of contraband which is being fought by officials of the Ministry of Trade in the country as part of measures to conform with Presidential prescriptions of March 7, 2008 on reducing the cost of living.

But official or unofficial, the issue is about the rising cost of living observed across the national territory. The rural poor are particularly hard hit as it is they who bear the brunt brought about by the effects of the difficult road situation in many areas, impeding easy movement out and into agricultural production zones which affects food supplies to cities and other areas where there is need as well as deprives farmers of crucial revenues which could help them access consumers goods and in so doing also enjoy the spoils of modern life. Another characteristic of the degrading social situation, apart from decent housing, is the decrepit state of such vital structures as schools and hospitals most of which are seriously unequipped and posit a rickety picture.

Since then, the effects of these measures are hardly being felt. Proof of the situation is that officials of the Ministry of Trade are permanently on the alert trying, the most they can to keep down inflation by ensuring that prices are kept at the prescribed rates for essential commodities such as rice, cooking gas, cooking oils, sugar and the like. An attentive government could not continue to stay in further indifference, given that in his end of year message on December 31, 2013, the Head of State had announced emergency measures to address the growing plight of citizens.

So, in announcing the immediate launching of a government emergency plan last Tuesday, he was simply making good his promise of last December. But this does not mean the government has been sitting arms folded. There is a massive investment plan to leap-frog the economy through the construction of huge infrastructure such as dams, highways, gas production plants and bridges.

These projects are aimed at easing transportation of goods, services and humans but will, above all, provide energy in sufficient quantities as to boost economic activity at all levels held down today by a crying electricity deficit. But these projects have so far been limited to a number of Regions, to the extent that some Regions are developing a feeling of estrangement in this vast movement of economic progress.

The social dimensions of the emergency plan will ensure that all the Regions are taken into consideration. The Head of State even has special thoughts for the people of strife-stricken areas whose difficulties have been exacerbated by wars and natural disasters. Here we are thinking of the people of the North and Far-North Regions who have become collateral victims of war and other forms of exactions imposed on our country by the Boko Haram sect and the devastating floods which have hit several parts of those Regions, leaving tens of thousands of our compatriots without shelter and even food.

This initiative should not be confused with the government White Paper on poverty reduction. It is a salutary initiative in the wake of the difficulties Cameroonians are going through and any form of political rhetoric must be extirpated from this life-saving decision because a whopping sum of FCFA925 Billion is being mobilized with reasonable interest rates from reliable national and international institutions.

Source : Cameroon Tribune

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