Government’s procrastination on the construction of a deep seaport in Limbe, the coastal town of the Southwest Region was the bone of contention during one of the plenary sittings of the National Assembly recently.
Many Members of Parliament, MPs, took turns to condemn the fact that even though feasibility studies for the construction of the Limbe deep seaport have gone on for well over three decades; government has preferred to construct the Kribi seaport that is said to be more expensive.
The Minister of Commerce, Luc Magloire Mbarga Atangana, had provoked the storm, unknowingly, when he said heavy goods could not really be imported through the Douala seaport because it is shallow. He was answering a question from one of the MPs during the plenary sitting in which the 2009 budget was adopted.
The Minister said Cameroon needs a new deep seaport so that heavy goods could easily be imported to Cameroon. The Minister’s reaction trickled Hon. P.C. Fanso, the MP for Momo, to the floor. “I am raising an alarm about the outright discrimination that government has shown against the Limbe seaport,” he screamed. He said the Limbe seaport is a natural deep seaport whose construction will not swallow FCFA billions of the taxpayers’ money like the Kribi seaport.
The MP recalled that when he was returning from London in the 60s his very heavy luggage was sent through the then Victoria seaport that was very deep. Hon. Fonso wondered why government conducted feasibility studies on the Limbe seaport only to turn around and start constructing an expensive seaport in Kribi in the South Region.
“You are provoking the people of the Southwest and Northwest Regions and this is evil,” the MP fired on. While corroborating the submission of his colleague, Hon. Awudu Mbaya of the Donga Mantung constituency said government first promised to construct the Limbe seaport in 1975.
To him, it was the late President Ahmadou Ahidjo who announced during the CNU congress of majority in Douala in 1975 that feasibility studies for the construction of a deep seaport in Limbe were being carried out. Going by him, it is ironical that after feasibility studies have been carried out on the Limbe seaport, it is that of Kribi that is being constructed.
Many others join the foray to articulate the discrimination meted out against the Limbe seaport first because it is in the English speaking part of country that Francophone led government is trying to marginalize. In the absence of Transport Minister, the Minister of Economy, Planning, Programming and Regional Development, Louis Paul Motaze, took the floor to counter Hon. P.C. Fonso’s claims.