By Ken Neba, Yaounde, Cameroon – Thursday November 21, 2019.
It is already four days since motorists and motorbike riders in Yaounde started experiencing fuel shortages with long ranks forming at filling stations across the city.
Cameroon’s President, Paul Biya, is playing host to leaders of five sub-regional nations for a two-day summit to discuss the activities of the almost moribund Economic Community of Central African States, CEMAC.
The Presidents of Chad, the Central African Republic, CAR, Congo Brazzaville, Gabon and Equatorial Guinea, are arriving in Yaounde and are being received by the Prime Minister, Joseph Dion Ngute at a time the capital city has been hit by a four-day-old fuel scarcity, especially the Super brand of petrol.
Residents began to notice that all was not well way back in the evening of Monday November 18, 2019. “I checked at seven filling stations between Mendong and Nsimeyong, passing through Biyem-Assi on Tuesday November 19, 2019, without being able to fill my car’s tank,” a Yaounde-based motorist told National Telegraph.
It was finally in the neighbourhood of Mvolye that the motorist found fuel. In the town of Bafia about 130 km from Yaounde, fuel scarcity has also been reported. A motorist there told National Telegraph on the line from Yaounde that inhabitants have been experiencing shortages since the beginning of the week.
As a result, the transport fare from Bafia to Ombessa – a distance of about 20 km that used to cost 1,000 FCFA by commercial motorbike, has now climbed to 1,500 FCFA! A rise of 50 percent. Because commercial motorbike riders have to travel all the way to Ombessa to refuel as there is no fuel in Bafia, the divisional headquarters.
Though officials in the Ministry of Water and Energy and at the Cameroon Petroleum Products Depot Company, SCDP, in the Yaounde neighbourhood of Nsam have since tried to dispel growing fears of fuel shortage in the capital city, the situation as at 6 pm local time on Thursday November 21, 2019 was still persisting.
A Ministry of Water and Energy source claimed that some of the city’s filling stations did not manage their stocks well over the weekend. And could not restock at SCDP on Sunday, November 17, 2019 – given that it was a non-working day.
The anonymous official promised that the situation was going to return to normal by Monday November 18, 2019. Which never happened!
Another Yaounde motorist, who works in a government ministry, told National Telegraph on Thursday, November 21, 2019 at 4 pm that he went to Tradex Filling Station at Vogt Junction the day before and was allowed fuel only for 10,000 FCFA. On Thursday when she tried refuelling at the same station, she could only be sold the Super brand of petrol worth only 5,000 FCFA.
It is now clear that Cameroon’s capital, Yaounde, has been in the throes of a major fuel scarcity for four days now. The situation is even made more grievous as leaders from the Central African sub-regional bloc started arriving in the city in the evening of Thursday November 21, 2019 for a two-day summit.