Walk Import-Substitution Talk!

That Cameroon’s economy catches a cold each time global importers sneeze is disturbing for a country that boasts of huge potentials especially in agro-pastoral production. The recent war of words on whether or not prices of some basic necessities would increase owing to a hike in import duties imposed by the raging Coronavirus pandemic further exposed how the national economy is dependent on the outside world; even to feed its population with goods that could as well be produced at home looking at the huge potentials in almost all parts of the country.
President Paul Biya in his traditional end-of-year State-of-the-Nation’s address on December 31, 2021 believes Cameroon has to turn this sorry state of affairs round. While reminding his fellow compatriots of what government did in course of 2021 to mitigate the effects of the pandemic on the local economy notably his instruction to government to reduce by 80% the sea freight transportation cost to be included in calculating customs duties, President Paul Biya insists efforts must be redoubled to stay safe. He said the government must also continue discussions with the private sector to identify further measures that can be implemented. 
One of the areas where efforts have to yield immediate fruits is in production. “By the way, if we have to meet the growth challenge, we must strive to reduce our imports and increase the volume of our exports by boosting domestic production,” President Biya opines. This is certainly not the first time the Head of State is coming up with such a recommendation whose results on the ground remain fairly satisfactory. Prove is that Cameroon continues to spend huge sums of scarce resources to import fish, meat, rice, maize and other high consumer goods. Money which would have been used on other productive sectors of the economy had the country’s huge potentials, especially in agro-pastoral production, been fully maximised.  
Someone jokingly said; and which has all elements of truth, that Cameroon is a rare country where it suffices to throw any grain anywhere to have a bountiful harvest. It is therefore a paradox that with the rich and abundant arable lands spread across the country, the production-friendly climate which permits for several sowing and reaping in a year and the wide-range of government’s production-boosting programmes and projects in as many ministries, the State still borrows to import food to feed the population. This is utterly absurd!
If the sing-song of boosting local production has remained at the level of choruses over the years with little fruits to show, it is absolutely necessary to turn a new page now. For, challenges keep mounting and it would be difficult for the country to emerge when the population still struggles to eat. In fact, ascertaining food self-suffi...



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