(Business in Cameroon) - Public company Pamol Plantations, which exploits palm oil trees in the war-affected southwest region, continues to face a challenging context. The new oil mill expected to get the company out of this situation has still not been put into service.
According to the Technical Commission for the Rehabilitation of Public and Para-public Enterprises (CTR), the infrastructure has however benefited, as of December 31, 2020, from CFA5.2 billion. This leaves CFA2.8 billion to be invested to reach the CFA8 billion needed for the project. CTR said the oil mill is still not operational because of the remaining amount that has not yet been released. But also because of "the soaring inflation that has pushed up the cost of manufacturing, as well as the insecurity in the Southwest”. With the inflation alone, the amount agreed upon in the contract will be lower than the actual project cost. The partners have therefore decided to build a new and smaller factory with a capacity of 30 tons per hour (the original one was expandable to 60 tons per hour, ed). Consequently, the work done so far for the former mill will be transferred and sold to another company, we learned.
While awaiting the delivery of this new factory, Pamol Plantations still struggles to recover. As a reminder, due to the Anglophone crisis, the company laid off 1,700 jobs between 2018 and 2020. Only 36.5% of its plantations were operational in 2021 and the CFA1.2 billion of turnover generated over the period were all used to cover operating costs. Also, although it has received CFA756.3 million in government support, the palm oil producer recorded a net loss of CFA786.7 million at the end of 2021, the 4th consecutive year, CTR points out.
Translated from French by Firmine AIZAN
Written by Brice R. Mbodiam