Between 2021 and 2022, the Cameroon Development Corporation (CDC), a state-owned agro-industrial enterprise operating banana, oil palm, and rubber plantations in the Littoral and Southwest regions of Cameroon, experienced a staggering 34.7% reduction in its workforce. The information was revealed in a recent report by the Technical Commission for the Rehabilitation of Public and Para-public Sector Enterprises (CTR), indicating that 5,518 personnel left the company during the period under review.
The CTR attributes this “significant and continuous decline” in the workforce to the “security crisis that came with the Anglophone conflict.” Indeed, since the conflict started in late 2016, CDC’s facilities and employees have become targets of separatist militants. Incidents such as the incineration of company packaging units, conversion of plantations into separatist base camps, and attacks resulting in severe injuries or fatalities to employees have plagued the CDC. The insecurity prompted a halt in the company’s operations in mid-2018, only to resume nearly two years later. The situation has gradually worsened with the accumulation of salary arrears due to the CDC’s financial difficulties resulting from the Anglophone crisis.
“The operational challenges faced by CDC hinder meeting its financial commitments, resulting in an overall increase in its indebtedness. Social debt has increased due to the 17.78% rise in salary arrears as of December 31, 2022, despite government support, and the accumulation of unpaid social security contributions, which have risen by 15%. As of June 30, 2023, salary arrears amounted to CFA35.7 billion, and the social debt to the National Social Security Fund (CNPS) stood at CFA26.7 billion,” CTR said.
With a monthly payroll estimated at CFA2 billion, according to figures disclosed during a board meeting on December 27, 2018, this volume of salary arrears corresponds to approximately 17 months of unpaid wages. Considering the financial assistance allocated by the state to public enterprises in the 2024 budget, personnel expenses were estimated at CFA16.09 billion in 2022, equating to CFA1.34 billion per month.
With cumulative losses of CFA38.7 billion between 2019 and 2021, as reported by the CTR, CDC emerges as the Cameroonian company bearing the heaviest toll of the ongoing separatist war in the Northwest and Southwest regions.
Source: Business in Cameroon