Absorbing The Shock!

The inevitable hike in the prices of petroleum products certainly delayed in Cameroon, but has finally come and all and sundry are thus readjusting to stand the challenges of the changes. Cameroonians have since this February 1, 2023 been paying FCFA 730 to get a litre of premium grade fuel and FCFA 720 for a litre of gas-oil. The adjustments are operational.
At least the country couldn’t do otherwise, looking at what has been obtaining in the past months. Against a backdrop of a gloomy global economic environment marked by raging crisis between Russia and Ukraine and just-abating Covid-19 pandemic with its nefarious consequences, government saw its subsidies on petroleum products almost hitting the ceiling without a parallel rise in revenue.  This explains why the Head of State in his State-of-the-nation’s address on December 31, 2022 said ensuring a steady supply of petroleum products and cooking gas to the domestic market warranted increasing the volume of public subsidies, through   substantial budgetary efforts. Disclosing that in 2022 for instance, the State treasury subsidized fuel and cooking gas to the tune of nearly FCFA 700 billion and FCFA 75 billion respectively was explicit enough. The amount is non-negligible within the current context. 
Government has been unwavering on the possible way out. Like President Paul Biya said, “Considering the intensity of the exogenous shocks and their impact on our economy, I instructed the Government to consider all options to stabilize prices at their current level, and to maintain the purchasing power of consumers.  However, it is becoming increasingly clear that Cameroon, like many other countries in Africa and elsewhere, will not be able to indefinitely avert a petroleum products price adjustment if we must preserve our fiscal balances and successfully continue implementing   our development policy.”
The modifications have finally come, but the population has not been left on its own. Maintaining the prices of kerosene at FCFA 350 as well as that of cooking gas at its present level are illustrative of the determination to strike a balance and keep life going. A move that greatly benefits the struggling masses even though the hike in the prices of fuel will affect them in other sectors.  The Government’s press release announcing the changes also made it abundantly clear that the guaranteed minimum wage will be increased to over FCFA 41,000 and the remuneration of State employees stepped up by averagely 5.2 per cent.  
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