Fuel Subsidy Removal: Cameroon Moves To Stop Smuggling of Cocoa Beans To Nigeria

In what seems like a retaliatory move, the Cameroon government on Tuesday said it will assign troops and customs officials to crack down on the illegal export of the country’s cocoa beans to Nigeria.

Information Nigeria reports that since Nigeria’s petrol price hike caused by the subsidy removal, many neighboring countries where petrol is being smuggled to have been at a disadvantage.

Nigeria’s President, Bola Ahmed Tinubu had said Nigeria should not be Father Christmas to neighboring countries by providing them subsidised petrol.

“Why should we in good heart and sense, feed smugglers and be Father Christmas to neighboring countries, even though they say everyday is not Christmas,” Tinubu had said.

Recall also that when asked about data of Nigeria’s daily consumption, Mele Kyari, Group Chief Executive Officer of the Nigerian National Petroleum Company said: “We know that petroleum products are being smuggled out of the country.

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“We are actually subsidising everybody else in West Africa. I can tell you a personal experience. I travel to Sudan for a visit when a Nigerian met me and said: ‘Gentleman, I understand you work for NNPC. Can you help me have access to fuel because people are bringing fuel here to make money from it?

“That means the fuel in this country goes as far as Sudan. For other neighbouring countries around us, you cannot even talk about it. They call it Nigerian fuel in many countries.”

Speaking in Yaounde in a meeting on Tuesday, Cameroon’s Minister of Trade, Luc Magloire Mbarga Atangana, “We’re going to mount a solid patrol of troops, customs and administrative officers who will combine with vigilante groups to stop the phenomenon.

“I believe that smuggling is one of several reasons why it has become very difficult for our yearly cocoa harvest to exceed 300,000 metric tons,” Minister Atangana said, adding that the patrol will be mounted before the main crop cocoa harvests start in July or August.

Cameroon exports cocoa overseas but doesn’t officially export to its neighbours, and is aiming to prevent traders from buying up beans in towns such as Mamfe, Kumba, Muyuka in the South West Region and smuggling them across the border into Nigeria.