By Etienne Mainimo Mengnjo
YAOUNDE, Cameroon – It is 2.00pm in Yaounde and city dwellers are busily going about their day-to-day activities. Around the Melen neighbourhood, a taxi driver is seen struggling to repair his car in the middle of the road, under the scorching sun.
Approached, the driver says: “As you see, I am trying so hard to arrange my car. I had a mechanical problem just a few hours ago. I called my technician but he is still to come. Please Mr. Journalist, help me so that we can push the car off the road.”
Fifteen minutes after, the technician arrives and, in a moment, he discovers the fault. Asked where to get the part, the technician said, it can only be gotten in Mvog-Ada or the Briqueterie neighbourhood. On reaching Mvog-Ada, this reporter discovered that those who are selling car spare-parts are foreigners. Most of them are from Nigeria.
From Mvog-Ada through major strategic areas where motor spare-parts are sold, the story is the same. Few Cameroonians are in the business. Asked why this trend, Roland, a taxi driver, said: “From my own point of view, it is because the business involves a lot of capital and very few Cameroonians venture into the business. They don’t have the money. These foreigners have their money, especially Nigerians who know the road and, more importantly, because cars are assembled in their country. They can go there, buy and come back easily than a Cameroonian would,” Roland said.
Another taxi driver observed: “This is really a very disturbing issue, because, our markets are full of foreigners. Cameroonians were supposed to be the ones. It is like, our authorities favour foreigners than Cameroonians. You can’t say that Cameroonians do not know how to do the business, but, seriously, I don’t know why it is like this. I am still trying to understand,” he added.
“The presence of these foreigners in our markets is what I can call capital flight. They sell and take back our money back to their country. This is what we should not encourage. Let the Government see what to do. They should encourage Cameroonians to get into the business. Cameroonians should be given low taxes. I think this will help Cameroonians to develop start-up in this line of business,” James explained.
In order to solve this issue, taxi drivers are of the opinion that Government should re-strategize investment in the country. Rather than importing motorbikes every day from China, Government should try and build a car and motorbike assemblage plant in the country. They said that will go a long way to give more youths employment and also help the common person on the streets.
“The population of the country is growing fast and we need to look for ways to occupy the active youths. It is time for us to create more job opportunities for the youths. We need to invest in our country so as to make our economy vibrant,” Mercy intimated.