Saturday, July 5, 2014

Cameroon Intensifies Protection of Endangered Animal Species

Yaounde, Cameroon—The Cameroon government has published the first ever guide for the protection and promotion of its endangered wildlife species. The 274 pages document that has been prepared with the technical and financial support of the French government was presented to stakeholders recently in Yaounde.
Over 300 elephants were killed in the Bouba Ndjida in 2012      

“The guide makes known the various species Cameroon has in the wild; where they are located and to come forth with appropriate measures to ensure their protection and see how we can valorize them by promoting the tourism sector in our country”, the minister of Forestry and Wildlife, Philip Ngole Ngwese said.
Cameroon has the richest flora and fauna in the central African sub region but their survival is persistently being threatened by the activities of unprincipled poachers.
Nonetheless, the guide doesn’t come to solve the problems already know in the sector but add to efforts already deployed by government to protect the rich and emblematic species in Cameroon.
“Some two years ago, MINFOF came up with an emergency plan of action to ensure the protection of Cameroon’s wildlife following the massive killing of elephants in the Bouba Ndjida national park. The plan identifies specific measures government is putting in place to guarantee the survival of the emblematic animal species in the wild in the country”, Mr. Ngwese said.
The French Ambassador to Cameroon, Christine Robinchon said Cameroon’s rich natural patrimony is very important not just to the country but to the world at large, and thus needs protection.
“France is very much involved in issues linked to the environment and biodiversity preservation. Cameroon has a large variety of biodiversity; so it is very important to preserve it; be it forest or animals”
The green-colored book titled “Protected Fauna of Cameroon” classifies the various species Cameroon has in the wild into two categories; category ‘A’ with 93 species like wild dogs, lions, leopards, elephants-being threatened species. Category ‘B’ with 167 species like African Elephants, Giant Hog, Buffalos etc and their degree of protection.
By Ndi Eugene Ndi in Yaounde

“There’s no grazing, farming land in the Northwest”—Expert

Nkambe, Cameroon—Cameroon’s three decade old land tenure law has been criticized by many local land tenure experts as full of limitations.
Participants pose with Divisional officer for Nkambe

“As per the current land law, there is no grazing or farming land in the Northwest region”, says Barrister Robert Nso Fon of the Bamenda based MBUFONZAK law firm.
The legal expert explains that according to Decree No. 78/263 of 3rd  July 1978 for settling of  farmers/grazer conflict, such land has to be clearly demarcated by a 10 member commission in which two are notables of the area concerned. But in the Northwest region, farming and grazing lands are demarcated by either prefectural or sub-prefectural orders while farmer/grazer problems abound.
Barrister Fon was speaking to some leaders of the civil society, traditional rulers, and other stakeholders during a workshop aimed at identifying the shortcomings of the 1974 Cameroon land tenure law that took place in Nkambe recently.
Christian J. Taku, coordinator of the Community Assistance in Development (COMAID) Bamenda, organizer of the workshop said resolutions from the workshop would be integrated into the current land reforms of Cameroon.
The Divisional Officer for Nkambe, Abba Abdouraman who chaired the workshop hailed the organizer saying management of public policies cannot be successful without the active involvement of the civil society.
“Gone are the days when administrators act solely in the implementation of public policies”. 
The administrator said the Ministry of state property, surveys and land tenure is carrying out consultations on positive ideas that will be integrated into the land tenure law under elaboration. Thus, suggestions from the Nkambe workshop will not be neglected by the administration.
 “You are the ones dealing with land issues, you know the problem faced by youth, women/widows, Fons, Ardors etc, so you can better help government with proposals should be integrated into the new land law”, the D.O said.
By Marcel Abanda in Nkambe

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

SONARA is at the verge of collapse—Issa Tchiroma

Yaounde, Cameroon—The Minister of Communication, government’s spokesman has revealed that the increase in the fuel and domestic gas prices is a measure to rescue the country’s lone refinery, SONARA which is at the verge of collapse.
Issa Tchiroma, Communication Minister

The state currently owes the refinery an estimated FCFA 300 billion within the framework of the subsidy policy, whereas the total SONARA unpaid bills vis-à-vis its partners and other suppliers, amount to FCFA 550 billion.
The refinery is thus at the verge of reaching a serious critical point as its treasury does no longer permit it to obtain credit lines, which are necessary to purchase sufficient crude oil to satisfy internal market demand. In the phase of this situation, SONARA has been obliged to drop its production capacity from 340 cubic meters per hour to 200 cubic meters per hour, to avoid a total stop of its production units.
“SONARA, through which the state intervenes to subsidize hydrocarbons prices at filling stations, is today threatened in its survival, by the pressure exercised on its economic and financial balance through the weight of its intervention in the process of implementing this subsidy”.
Since the last increment in fuel prices in February 2008 in Cameroon, the price of crude oil at the world market has been rising. Government maintained subsidies despite the persistent hike in crude oil and pressure from international funding bodies to increase fuel prices.
Between 2008 and 2013, the government spent FCFA 1200 billion; more than the 2014 investment budget of  FCFA 1000 billion. Within the first six months of 2014, subsidy paid or due by the state in this respect, amounts to FCFA 157 billion, with a cumulated amount, from 2008 to date, amounting to FCFA 1 357 billion.
The reduction in subsidies, the minister said will permit the government to secure money for many social, educational and infrastructural projects, necessary to improve the well-being of populations and to increase growth rate.
“The cumulated amount of government subsidy to hydrocarbons prices at filling stations, that is FCFA 1 200 billion from 2008 to 2013, representing 120% of the 2014 public investment budget, five times the budget of the Ministry of Public Works, four times the budget of the Ministries of Basic Education, Secondary Education and Higher Education, all three together”
Minister Tchiroma revealed that the amount spent on subsidies would have also permitted the construction of four hydroelectric dams, like Lom Pangar, six referral hospitals, or the construction of 2400 km of tarred roads.

Gov’t has not completely remove subsidies

Despite the hike in fuel and domestic gas prices, the minister of communication said government has not completely abandoned consumers by putting an end to the subsidy.
He explained that the subsidy has not been completely removed; it has simply been reduced to reasonable proportion to be easily supported by the State budget.
“This increase simply aims at bringing back the said subsidy to affordable levels by the State finances”.
According to Issa Tchiroma, the prices of the hydrocarbons products at filling stations exclusive of government subsidies are as follows:
-          Fuel, CFA 825 F per litre, with a difference of CFA 175 F
-          Gasoil, CFA 770 F per litre, with a difference of CFA 170 F
-          Kerosene, CFA 705 F per litre, with a difference of CFA 355 F
-          12 and half kg bottle of domestic gas, CFA 9230 F, with a difference of CFA 2730 F.
Minister Tchiroma maintained that, despite the reduction of this subsidy which resulted in the increase of hydrocarbon prices at filling stations, the average of these prices in Cameroon still remains far under the average applied in countries with the same level of development Cameroon.
By Ndi Eugene Ndi in Yaounde

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Recognition: Ndansi Elvis Receives Two Excellence Awards in Three Months

Bamenda, Cameroon—Ndansi Elvis, 29, national youth president of the NUDP party, founder and CEO of Unite for Health Foundation Clinic-with branches dotted all over the country has again been recognized for his outstanding role in promoting youth participation in politics and governance.
Ndansi receives a bouquet of flowers from his Mum

Ndansi was Saturday June 14 at the premises of Azam Hotel, Bamenda declared most exemplary young Cameroonian of the year during the maiden edition of the Cameroon Radio Television (CRTV) Northwest youth promoter award for excellence.
“I feel very humbled by this other award because to be given an award as the most exemplary young Cameroonian, it means the population of the Northwest that voted saw in me some qualities that they think Cameroon youths should emulate”, elated Ndansi said.
 “I will thank those who voted for minimizing my errors and paying attention to my positive action because as a human being I can’t say I am infallible”, the CRTV Northwest honoree added.
It should be recalled that on April 5 this year, Ndansi received a similar award from The Guardian Post media group during an occasion in Kumba.
“It forces blood into my heart to see that all these things are happening just almost at the same time”, Ndansi said.
Apart being a giant promoter of youth activities, Ndansi Elvis is a long tested member of his party, having served in diverse functions before being elected national youth president in 2012 during the party’s congress.
Analysts say last Saturday’s award is supported by his political strength in the Northwest region and beyond, one which has encouraged many youth to get interested in the political affairs of their communities.
“We need not make mountains to move in order to be recognized, but that the little things we do at the community or village level, even at the level of your neighborhood can be recognized by somebody. Even if it is not in the form of an award, there is one divine recognition that come from God”, Ndansi believes.
Observers say Ndansi Elvis’s involvement in politics has changed the mindset of many young Cameroonian who hitherto perceived latter as a thing for the old.
In 2007, at 24 he was the council list leader for the Misaje council on the UNDP ticket during the twin elections. The party emerged second behind the SDF. Also in 2013, he stood the parliamentarian election as candidate for the Donga Matung west constituency (Ako & Miseja).
Ndansi had received a similar award in Kumba early this year
Meanwhile, addressing laureates and guests at the start of the event, the Coordinator of the CRTV Northwest weekly program, Youth Forum and initiator of the youth promoter Award, Mr Cham Victor Bama saluted the massive attendance of peoples of all walks of life describing it as proof of the importance attached to the award ceremony.
He disclosed that the youth promoter award which would eventually become a yearly exercise is out to recognize the activities of individuals in the promotion of youth activities in the region. Cham Victor then used the occasion to thank the management of CRTV Northwest for throwing their support behind the initiative.
The president of the Jury, Barrister Kemende Henry while declaring the winners of the various awards said the laureates where voted by the people of the Northwest through text messages, telephone calls as well as voting through live call-in radio programs over the regional station. He said the credibility of the awards could not be over emphasized given that the counting of the votes was transparent and the outcome of the results truly reflect the personalities voted.
Other speakers at the event such as CRTV Northwest regional station manager, Freddy Eta Besong, the CEO of St. Louis Group, Dr. Nick Ngwanyam and the social and cultural affairs adviser at the Northwest Governor’s office, Mr Nji Joseph all hailed the organizers for the initiative.
By Mua Patrick and Ndi Eugene Ndi in Bamenda

Cameroon Urged to Harness Renewable Energy

Yaounde, Cameroon—Cameroon has experienced an unprecedented energy deficit since 1990’s, and fulfilling basic needs still remains a challenging issue. This, experts say is cause by the fact that the country depends mostly on non renewable sources of energy with less than one percent of its energy generated as electricity coming from renewable sources.
Renewables like wind and solar are cheap

With the insufficient energy supply, attention is increasingly being focused on renewable energy, especially solar, biogas and biomass to bridge the demand/supply shortfall.
“But then to do this, they need to put in place an adequate policy and a legal framework that will guide the promotion of this kind of activity”,  says Mr Forghab Patrick, a consultant with Global Village Cameroon, a non governmental organization that works to promote sustainable development and environmental protection.
An information seminar to educate lawmakers on the opportunities and challenges for the putting in place of a legal framework for the promotion of renewable energy resources took place at the national assembly recently.
Experts say apart from the ever increasing prices of fossil fuel-which is a non renewable source of energy, its effects are or could be disastrous not humans the planet as a whole and have thus advised that alternative sources should be encouraged and promoted.
 “These alternatives are those sources that are cheap, available and renewable. Here we are talking about solar energy, wind energy and micro hydro electric power and biomass”, Mr. Forghab said.
The expert thinks that rather than relay on cooking gas which is produced for example from SONARA (for the case of Cameroon), biogass which is produced from waste could be used.
Most countries in Asia and Latin America are investing a lot of money in the development of renewable energy, our expert revealed. But in Cameroon, less than one percent of energy generated as electricity comes from renewable sources.
Yet the grand north has abundant sunshine, the western highlands with a lot of wind that permits for the generation of wind turbines that can be a source of good energy; more reason why experts say Cameroon can move a little bit away from using energy from fossil fuels to renewable energy sources.
Experts say though fossil fuels may appear cheap now, it cost may be unbearable in the long run, considering the damage it would cause to the environment.
“Today if we are talking of global warming, climate change issues, it is all cause by the emission of green house gases generated from the traditional or conventional sources of energy”, says Mr Forghab Patrick.
The information session at the national assembly was co-organized by Global Village Cameroon and the Network of Parliamentarians for Sustainable Management of dense and humid Forest Ecosystems in Central Africa (REPAR)
Household energy, indoor air pollution and health are some important issues to be addressed in Cameroon taking into consideration that many families depend on fuelwood for energy with adverse effects to their health, reproductive and productive life, particularly for children and women, experts say.
The International Energy Agency’s annual Medium-Term Renewable Energy Market Report for 2012, says according to current trends renewable energy sources will collectively overtake gas as the world's second-largest source of energy by the end of this decade.
By Ndi Eugene Ndi in Yaounde

Cameroon Endorses Long-Dreaded Fuel Price Hike

The price per litre of diesel has increased by CFA 80 Frs
Yaounde, Cameroon—In a move that critics have termed, a response to pressure, the Cameroon government has increased the price of fuel and domestic gas as from today, July 1, 2014.
Following the adjustments, a litre of super that previously cost CFA 569 Frs will now be sold at CFA 650 Frs. A litre of gasoil (diesel) previously sold at CFA 520 Frs will now cost CFA 600 Frs, while a 12.5KG bottle of cooking gas which previously cost CFA 6000 will hence cost CFA 6500 Frs.
The price of Kerosene which is used by a majority of Cameroonians has been maintained at CFA 350 Frs per litre.
A release from the prime minister’s office explains that the increment will help the government to secure money needed to finance other projects in the country.
The government in the same release announced tax reductions and salary adjustment for civil servants and review of minimum wages.
The Cameroon government has spent CFA 1.2 billion on fuel and domestic gas subsidies between 2008 and 2013.
Consumers’ rights activists in Cameroon have criticized the price hike saying consumers were not consulted.
By Ndi Eugene Ndi in Yaounde