This interruption of activities is the second since the beginning of July 2022, after the one that occurred on 2 July 2022.
The machines had been restarted on 4 July, before the new stoppage occurred on 7 July.According to the terms of a letter sent on 12 July 2022 to the Director General of Cicam, Edouard Ebah Abada, by the Director of Production, Adoum Abagana, these successive stoppages of the Garoua plant are related to the lack of fuel.
“Fuel oil 1500 is essential for the operation of the boiler which produces dry steam at 120 degrees, which allows the bonding of the threads. This is an intermediate process that increases the strength of the yarn,” says Cicam. The letter from Adoum Abagana does not specify whether the lack of fuel is due to the insolvency of Cicam vis-à-vis its supplier or to a shortage of fuel oil 1500.
The resumption of activities, according to the above-mentioned document, is however scheduled for 19 July 2022. “Honestly, even if the resumption is scheduled for July 19, we do not believe in it very much,” confided an employee of the Cicam plant in Garoua, whose state of mind reflects the malaise that the 300 employees of the Garoua plant have been experiencing for several years, due to the financial difficulties faced by this public company.
Indeed, despite the signing in 2015 of a contract-plan of 13.2 billion CFA francs with the State, its sole shareholder, Cicam is struggling to get out of the turbulent zone in which it finds itself. In fact, while it was still the flagship of the textile industry in the Cemac zone a few years ago, Cicam now controls barely 5% of the local market. The fault lies with fabrics from China and West African countries, particularly Nigeria.
This stiff competition from Chinese and West African fabrics, which are sometimes smuggled in, has had a significant impact on Cicam’s finances. According to official financial statements, this state-owned company has accumulated losses of CFAF 13.4 billion over the period 2018-2020, with a peak of CFAF 5.3 billion in 2018 alone. Its turnover, meanwhile, fell from 13.2 billion FCFA in 2018 to just 9.9 billion FCFA in 2019, before dropping to 7.3 billion FCFA in 2020, a drop of almost 50% compared to the 2018 financial year.
Due to a lack of cash, Cicam is no longer able to produce the quantities of 8 March loincloths required to meet demand. However, International Women’s Day, celebrated on 8 March each year, has become the main source of revenue for this public company.