Consumers Must Be Protected!

The gas distribution system in the country is decidedly a very difficult problem to overcome!


On this same column a few weeks ago, we wrote on the necessity to give consumers their rightful place in accessing essential commodities such as cooking gas. The image left after we would have considered all that is happening in the gas distribution sector in Cameroon today, is one of the hackneyed phrase that says that water everywhere but very little to drink! Simply put, what can really be responsible for this situation in which it is not the more difficult problem of production, but that of distribution that is yet to be overcome.  

The situation in the gas sector is very much a replica of what obtains in the water distribution sector where water, so available, is difficult to be accessed by the vast majority of potential users. Many Cameroonians are already thinking that the situation created could find its origins in a national curse. But this is hard to believe because simple observation provides a myriad of possibilities to get out of the situation. One of them is the necessity for government to get off its sitting-on-the-fence posture to make its determination more forth coming.

One has the impression that, because of the government’s desire to avoid offending anyone, it has had to sacrifice the huge army of gas users on the altar of sectarian interests. And here, the SCTM rumpus is obviously being called to account. When the government gave the SCTM the exclusive rights to produce gas bottles some years ago, the avowed reason was to give a national colouring to the type of gas bottles used throughout the national territory. But what was considered the hurried deliverance of a gas distribution licence to SCTM, without considering its ability to provide gas, has been a problem.

This may be taking the problem into a zone of complexities; but for the moment, the most important thing is bringing government to come into the picture by stamping its regulatory foot in such a manner as to ensure that gas is easily accessed by those who want to use it. The various actors have shown their inability to bring gas into households; so where is government whose role is to protect consumers?

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