Cameroon Concord's Arrey Echi Agbor-Ndakaw speaks of the prevailing situation since the Biya regime decided to increase the price of fuel---------
For some few months now, the talk on everyone’s lips is the cost of fuel and transportation. The sudden price hike in fuel means people have to make some drastic changes in their mode of commuting and going about their daily business of survival and putting food on the table.
For those accustomed to going about in plush comfortable cars, the price hike means very little or nothing for them. However, for the average citizen who has to go through a day hopping from one taxi to another, the pinch of this hike is solely felt and what a painful pinch it is.
In big cities like Douala and Yaoundé where the cost of living is generally high, commuting thro and fro is one of the constant headaches for the Johns and Janes Doe. Add this to dealing with insolent taxi drivers especially during a long tiring day and a glaring picture of what all this means to the average person forms into the mind.
Picture a scenario where being used to paying 400-800 frs a day, a person earning 200,000 or less starts spending between 500- 1500frs a day. Sometimes, trying to bargain a price especially for short distances, while some drivers readily accept and take you, others insult and look down their high horse on you as if by making that bargain you committed the worst crime ever heard of in the history of transportation.
In cognizance of the difficulties this price hike may cause to the average Doe, the government released a statement to readjust the salaries of its workers by about 5%. This may be all good if the press release is actually true and not one of those many rumours plaguing the mainstream media. It might actually help some of the commuters in the quest and struggle for survival.
In this instance therefore, those who will really feel the pinch of this fuel price hike will be those in the private sector unless, the powers that be follow suit with the government press release and readjust salaries as well. It just might be too much to ask for considering the fact that many of these private bodies feel they are doing people a favour giving them jobs and as such what they are paid is enough. Others devise all kinds of means possible to delay paying their workers and yet, they expect them to be at work daily.
This begs for some explanations! How are people expected to be at work day in day out when they are yet to receive salaries for upwards to three or four months at most? Will they be expected to fly or use the natural vehicles God gave them aka ‘Leggdisbenz’?
When one thinks about the repercussions of this price hike, people somewhere in a rural community feel the pangs doublefold. In addition to the scarcity of cars and roads in most of our rural areas, the few available ones will probably be charging passengers an arm and a leg. This makes it extremely difficult for people in rural communities who probably have to trek long distances from scarcely accessible roads carrying heavy farm loads. While those with cars will continue to enjoy their plush rides, the Johns and Janes Doe will continue to brave the elements, unruly taxi drivers and benskineurs as they adapt or hope for a silver lining in regards to the price hikes while wondering if this will be the only hike or if more will follow?