Each end of year, it is common to have shortages of domestic gas in Cameroon. Used to this occurrence, users of the commodity either line up in the various stations of SCTM, the leader of the market, or for those capable of affording it, the next option is the purchase of gas from the black market where a bottle of 12 Kg can be found for 10,000 FCFA (instead of usual 6,500 FCFA) during this period.
This year however, this phenomenon seems too early. Indeed, for almost a week now, acquiring domestic gas in Yaoundé and Douala has become very difficult. According to retailers, the product has not been supplied for some time now despite the increase in demand. A huge lie, according to Maloum Bra, the head of the Société Camerounaise des Dépôts Pétroliers (SCDP) division in Yaoundé. “We are always called by the Ministry of Trade concerning this matter which has no foundation. The only one, unfortunately, is the upcoming end of year”, he says in the governmental daily.
“We supply all eight distributors of domestic gas each day. So where do the bottles go? That is the mystery to solve. The SCTM alone received 19 tons of gas on October 5, 2015. This corresponds to almost 2,000 bottles. In addition to this, SCTM has another station in Douala which receives 2,000 bottles that are sent to Douala. This makes a total of 4,000 bottles daily for this distributor only. Others also come daily and are supplied according to their exact demands, no less than what they ask for. 8,000 bottles are provided daily for Yaoundé and we can deliver more, considering the actual surplus of butane in Douala. These claimed shortages are therefore very confusing”, he adds.
Clearly put, both the SCDP and the Cameroonian population suspect domestic gas suppliers, especially the leader of the market, the SCTM (almost 50% shares of this market), to be behind this end of year shortages, with the complicity of retailers so as to benefit from the price surge likely to occur a month from now