(Business in Cameroon) - The State-owned agribusiness CDC is showing signs of recovery after three years of losses between 2019 and 2021. The company, which operates palm oil, rubber and banana plantations in the Southwest and Littoral has accumulated CFA41.1 billion in losses over the 3 years, data from the Technical Committee for the Rehabilitation of Public and Parapublic Sector Enterprises (CTR) showed.
However, while losses were more pronounced between 2019 (CFA17.9 billion) and 2020 (CFA18.3 billion), 2021 saw a bit of a lull with an estimated loss of only CFA4.9 billion, or four times less than in 2020, CTR said. This downward loss trend is a sign that the company is gradually getting its head out of water. According to the CTR, it is proof that the government's efforts to support this entity harshly affected by the NoSo war are paying off.
Following the resumption of activities in Q2 2020, the company embarked on the rehabilitation of its plantations in 2021. As a result, its rubber production has reached 6,468 tons in 2021, up 43.5% compared to 2020; palm oil production has reached 10,496 tons, up 23.69% and the volume of bananas has reached 16,619 tons, up 169%. The turnover over the period was CFA15.8 billion, an 83.95% increase compared to 2020. In 2019 and 2020, CDC's turnovers stood at CFA4.3 billion and CFA8.6 billion, respectively.
28 months of salary arrears
While the Cameroon Development Corporation can be optimistic about its upturn, it faces many other challenges that could hinder its performance. Indeed, the company has recorded "increasing structural costs that accompany the recovery of the activity and that cannot be covered by the resources generated”. CTR reported that personnel costs absorbed the entire turnover and added value created by the company. These costs have increased from CFA15.5 billion in 2019 to CFA16.2 billion and CFA16.1 billion in 2020 and 2021 respectively.
"Despite this worrying financial situation, CDC has fulfilled some of its financial obligations to its partners in 2021. There has been a decrease in financial debts (-18.6%) due to reductions in borrowing and debts from credit institutions, advances received, and blocked current accounts, which decreased by 22% and 15% respectively. In terms of tax debts, there has been a decline of 37% attributed to a decrease in state taxes on profits (-78%). Other debts have also decreased (-9.94%). However, social debts have increased due to salary arrears (employees claiming 28 months as of date), which rose by 37% compared to the previous year," according to the CTR report. CDC's social debts increased from CFA25.7 billion to CFA35.4 billion between 2019 and 2020, and further to CFA48.3 billion in 2021.
Translated from French by Firmine AIZAN
Written by Brice R. Mbodiam