Major French and English Newspapers in the Cameroons are reporting that the Government of Biya is botching a plan to increase toll gates fee across the country from 500 to 2500 Frs CFA. The state of Cameroons roads is however very pathetic and the government makes billions of CFA from the current toll gates fee. Cameroonians beg to see any improvement on their roads as this money is not put into use and most often than not the fees from these toll gates are embezzled and/or mismanaged. It should be noted that the idea of toll gates came into being from Ni John Fru Ndi. His idea was instituted by the government of Paul Biya but poorly managed.
The information from Cameroon press that Government plans to increase toll gates fees will take a great effect on the citizens. It will automatically increase transport fares, prices of goods and services shall see a sharp increase. It will not only affect those home but even those in the diaspora will be affected in terms of remittances sent home, transportation and custom duties.
In fact, BaretaNews thinks that this is a bad plan from the government. The current state in which the toll gates fees are managed has not been satisfactory. That is why the National Chairman of the Social Democratic Front, SDF, Ni John Fru Ndi, on August 22, 2015 stormed the tollgate at Matazem – the gateway into Bamenda, Northwest Region to chase away the tollgate collectors; “ I came here because, people have been complaining that the roads are bad and these fellows keep collecting huge sums of money on a daily basis and the Government is not investing the money in building the road. Until the road from Bamenda to Mbouda is tarred, nobody will collect a franc here in the name of tollgate. People cannot continue to pay money (FCFA 500) every time they cross this gate, with the bad roads we have. No!” Fru Ndi declared.
Fru Ndi again in his 2016 New Year message to the nation on Thursday, January 14, 2016, at his Ntarikon residence said “It is very disturbing that roads are allowed to be damaged completely and then repair contracts are awarded to unscrupulous contractors and embezzlers of the regime in power. We shall not sit and watch how gullies develop on our roads, causing ghastly accidents, destroying vehicles and paralyzing economic activity”. The chairman of the Social Democratic Front, Ni John Fru Ndi has called on Cameroonians to dislodge all tollgates found on the dilapidated sectors of our road infrastructure and has encouraged civil disobedience in the payment of tollgates by all road users until the roads are properly maintained.
However, BaretaNews noted that Fru Ndi did not see this threat through. It is really unscrupulous for the government to botch plans to see toll gates fees increased. Cameroonians must not allow this to happen and we of this platform thinks Fru Ndi must recall his threats and takes credible actions to force the government to abandon such plans.
Meanwhile, wondering why the government could have nursed this idea, BaretaNews noted that in June 2016, we reported that the Ministry of Public Works led by Mr. Emmanuel Nganou Djoumessi and the government of Cameroon had launched a public order calling for construction of some automated toll gates across the country. The automated toll gates will replace the 14 manual toll gates on the following roads network across the country:
The document stated that the toll gates will be constructed to meet international standards. BaretaNews wonders if the idea to increase toll gates fee is as a result of these automated toll gates that would be constructed. We recalled that state Audit in 2015 revealed about 5 billion francs collected from toll gates around the country between 2007 and 2011 were embezzled. This was facilitated by a racket within the chiefs on toll gates and workers who printed their own tickets as such steal away billions of CFA from the state. The increase of the toll gates fee to 2015 could only lead to more theft at a time the country economy is struggling.
God is still saying something.