5:23 pm - Thursday December 13, 2018

CDC EXTRA-ORDINARY JOINT INDUSTRIAL COUNCIL MEETING OF 29th NOVEMBER 2018

The Joint Industrial Council (JIC) is the highest consultative organ of the Corporation. The JIC comprises Management, the Trade Unions that operate in the CDC, Workers’ Representatives and Labour Administration as Observers.

An extra-ordinary Joint Industrial Council meeting held on Thursday 29th November 2018 at the CDC Boardroom, Bota – Limbe. The discussions centered around 1) the Restructuring of the CDC, 2) the socio-political crisis and 3) Resumption of activity – the way forward.

The General Manager started his report on the Restructuring of CDC by stating that the news of November 9th that the Corporation has received a grant of 86 Billion F CFA was a misrepresentation. He then went ahead to recount that CDC Management presented a report to the Government after the revenue from the Rubber sector suffered a drop of more than 60% in 2013. On the basis of this situation report the Prime Minister set up a Committee in 2015 to study the report and come up with modalities for the Restructuring of the CDC. The Committee recommended the Restructuring along three main axes viz:

The Institutional axis saw the transformation of the CDC into a Public Corporation on the one hand and the approval of the new Statutes that conform to current national and international legislation on the other hand. Two presidential decrees to this effect were signed in January 2016. The Financial axis aimed at enabling the CDC access appropriate financing for Investment. The State, through Minister of Finance, has taken a catalogue of decisions that have reduced the indebtedness of the Corporation by about 70 Billion F CFA. The Technical axis targets to rejuvenate the over-aged plantations, to refurbish the Factories and Mills, to ensure satisfactory road maintenance, to ensure good modern agricultural practice and other measures that will improve productivity and efficiency. The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development was assigned to accompany the CDC in the Technical Restructuring and it is in this connection that the Minister of Agriculture & Rural Development signed Memoranda of Understanding (MOU) on 22nd May 2018 with ITD Trailers of Canada & TIMAC AGRO and on 20th June 2018 with FERTILORE & TYLLIUM SAS both of France. After intense studies accompanied by site visits CDC and MINADER agreed with ITD Trailers and TYLLIUM SAS on the scope of eventual contracts for the Supply of Earthmoving/Agricultural Equipment and for the Design, Supply, Installation and Commissioning of a Palm Oil Mill and a Rubber Factory respectively. The Tyllium offer for a 25Ton/hr Palm Oil Mill inclusive of a Refining & Soap Unit and a Rubber Factory comprising a 5Ton/hr Cuplump Line and a 3Ton/hr Latex crumb Line stands at 69.9 Million Euro (45.83 Billion FCFA). The ITD Trailers offer for Earthmoving Equipment (Bulldozers, Loaders, Excavators, Graders…), Tractors, Crop Evacuation vehicles, Pumps, Gensets, Forklift Trucks and other Equipment stands at 74.1 Million USD (41 Billion FCFA). It is the Agreement on the scope of these Supplies that the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development signed with the two companies on 9th November 2018. These documents have been forwarded to the Prime Minister and are expected to be the subject of further scrutiny by MINEPAT and MINFI. Only after this could the CDC benefit from the anticipated grant.

 

All the efforts to restructure the CDC are being frustrated by the socio-political crisis that is rocking the South West and North West Regions. A number of our workers as well soldiers have been killed, abducted, maimed or injured. Equipment, houses and vehicles have been burnt down and processing units vandalized. Out of eleven (11) Rubber Estates only the four (4) located in the Mungo Division, Littoral Region are operating at about 50%. In the Palms sector only two (2) out of seven (7) Estates are operating. The Banana sector is most seriously hit. It is completely shut down since the end of August and even the newly replanted 600 hectares of the Benoe and Esuke farms are completely destroyed. About 12,500 workers cannot work because of insecurity. The balance of about 7,500 workers in the working Estates, Processing Units, Support Services and Head Office is operating far below normal capacity. Achieved production for the period 01/102018 to date stands at 11,681 Tons of Rubber against an expectation of 16,611 Tons. For Palm Oil it is 11,721 Tons against 22,842 Tons expected and for Banana it is a production of 35,000Tons against an expected 105,000 Tons. The corresponding shortfall in Revenue which stands at 35 Billion FCFA explains why the Corporations is unable to honour pressing commitments like the payment of salaries & wages, Supplier bills etc etc.

 

There is an urgent need for security to be reinstated on the Plantations in order to prevent further deterioration that may lead to wide-scale irreversible destruction. The sum of about 15 Billion FCFA is required to rehabilitate the 2005hectates of recoverable Banana plantations and to replant 500 hectares. For the Rubber and Palms sectors the sums of 7.7 and 6.47 Billion FCFA respectively will be required for the rehabilitation of the plantations. This situation has been presented to Government and an approval has been obtained for assistance to pay accrued salaries, wages and allowances for the period May to September 2018. The sum of 1.7 Billion FCFA has so far been received and further disbursements will be done as the availability of funds will permit. While it is hoped that the Government (the sole shareholder of the CDC) will find a way to finance the CDC, the Corporation on its part has established marketable Business plans and intends to approach credible financial Institutions. The Government is accompanying the Corporation in this endeavor. Management explained to the JIC that an integral part of every Business Plan is the repayment schedule. It is therefore inherent that work must resume in order to stop the destruction of the plantations, engage the rehabilitation of the plantations and return to normal profitable operations to honour the various financial commitments.

After fruitful deliberations on the above presentations the JIC meeting arrived at the following Resolutions:

  • Management should communicate sufficiently using all appropriate media on all significant issues affecting the Corporation during this period of the on-going socio-political crisis affecting the NW and SW Regions.
  • Social Partners are appealing to the State of Cameroon to intensify security measures within the Corporation to create an enabling environment that will guarantee the security of workers to resume work.
  • Social Partners agreed to work together in ensuring that regular meetings with workers shall be held in order to get them resume work for the survival of the CDC.
  • Regarding the outstanding arrears of salaries of workers and other debts, Social Partners enjoined the General Manager to continue appealing to Government to provide the approved funds.
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