One of the devastating consequences of the crisis hitting the North West and South West Regions of Cameroon is a paralyzed economy.
More than 60,000 direct employees have been rendered jobless following the closure of most and major agro-poles which served as backbone of the economy in these regions.
One of such paralyzed industries is PAMOL Plantations, considered as the heartbeat of Ndian Division.
It is a large agro-industrial company which grows oil palms and rubber as its main crops.
It is being described as the heartbeat of Ndian Division with more 90% of the economy of Ndian relying on Pamol since about 95% of Pamol is located in Ndian Division.
Though Pamol is largely built in the Ndian Division, it has a branch office in Douala and the Head Office in Lobe Estate, Ekondo-Titi.
Pamol has palm mills in Lobe Estate -Ekondo Titi and Ndian mill in Mundemba subdivisions. Its key products are: Palm oil, Palm Kernel, Palm Kernel oil, Soap, Sludge Oil, Seedlings and Palm Kernel Cake.
It has palm plantations in
Ndian, Lobe and Bai in Meme Division, where they specialize in the production of palm oil.
Pamol also specializes in the production of rubber which covers a total land surface area of about 10,300 hectares and a capital of approximately 1.874 billion pumped in by the government of Cameroon highest share and para-public and private companies.
Of recent, a new plantation has been opened in Ekondo Nene, still in Ndian Division and there is an ongoing project in Bakassi Peninsula at Musongisele sponsored by the state to disenclave Bakassi.
Supervised by the ministries of Agriculture and Rural Development and Finance, the plantation is governed by a board of directors, 12 in number which represent the various partners, headed by a board chairman Bernard Okalia Bilai, who doubles as Governor of the South West Region of Cameroon.
Pamol is managed by a General Manager, Chief MEKANYA CHARLES OKON and assisted by a deputy CHIEF ALOYSIUS ASANGA. They manage five departments: plantations and research, administration and finance, technical, internal audit and human resources.
Pamol employs approximately 3,500 people directly who have gone for months without pay according to revelations from the president of workers syndicate in 2016.
Before the Anglophone crisis, the company had a giant plan of FCFA 14 billion to renovate her old equipments, dilapidated houses, farms and a general modernisation; with the ongoing projects on the extension to Bakassi for dis-enclavement and the development of Bakassi mainly engineered and sponsored by the Government.
But unfortunately, since the start of the anglophone crisis, the company is in ruins as workers were threatened by alleged pro independence fighters.
The company is unable to pay her debts, and workers for months haven’t received a dime.
« A good number of us no longer live there…we left because we were not sure when the crisis will end…staying for months without salaries and maximum security was also discouraging.. » a Worker at Pamol recounted to Mimi Mefo info.
The company is facing a very serious problem as there no maintenance being done on its installations. » How can technicians engage maintenance work when they can be targeted? » The source questioned.
The first mill of what is today PAMOL Plantations Plc, was inaugurated on the 14th of April 1967 by Cameroon’s first President Amadou Ahidjo in Lobe.
At that time, the company was known as « Plantations Pamol Du Cameroun » and owned by a British company by name, Unilever.
When the expatriates left in the late 1980s, because the prices of rubber and palm oil plummeted across the board making their operations unprofitable, Plantations Pamol du Cameroun, was placed under liquidation. At this point, Unilever got pollination insects from the research centre in Lobe conducted by a team led by Dr. Syed and exported to Unilever plantations in Malaysia and that boosted their production about 3-folds causing them to find no reason to stay in Cameroon.
However, the company continued operations until July 1996, when Pamol Plantations Ltd was created through a debt equity swap between creditors of the defunct Plantations Pamol du Cameroun Ltd, which was still a subsidiary of Unilever and shareholders of the new company.
The new company kick started its operations in November, 1996. Pamol Plantations Ltd was transformed into Pamol Plantations Public Liability Company in November, 2006 to conform to the OHADA treaty and it has remained as such to date.
The Cameroon Development Corporation (CDC) is also in crisis.
With over 20,000 contracts of employment, the company has been unable to meet up with her obligations.
Workers have since not been paid and there’s no sign things will get better given that all the plantations, mills and factories are down.
According to Ambazonian leaders and fighters, these companies are contributing enormously to the growth of the economy of Cameroon but government has failed to provide basic social facilities to the people like good road network, portable water….
They also complain, the companies are being managed and run by their French speaking counterparts whereas very few companies in the francophone regions are controlled by anglophones.