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After SONARA fire: 750 Jobs To Be Saved

Assurance was given by Energy and Water Resources Minister in Limbe on 6 June, 2019.

“No closure, no technical leave, no retrenchment, no redundancy and no salary cuts”. This promise was voiced on 6 June, 2019, in Limbe to 750 workers of the National oil Refining Company (French acronym, SONARA) by the Energy and Water Resources Minister, Gaston Eloundou Essomba. He led an inter-ministerial delegation on that day to the sinister site within SONARA. While in Limbe, headquarters of Fako Division of the South West Region, the inter-ministerial delegation took a two-hour walk round the sinister area, hopping over debris and fixing their eyes on the charred installations. The loss is colossal, to say the least. As SONARA’s General Manager, Jean-Paul Simo Njonou, explained; while waiting for an exhaustive inspection, it is now known that seven units of the Company’s 13 were touched. Among them four were irreversibly destroyed whose technical names are Unit 10 for atmospheric distillation to produce the various types of fuel, Unit 30 for stabilization of connections, Unit 40 for domestic gases, and Unit 70 for treatment of water. Those partially touched are Units 20, 50 and 100. (Note that the figures assigned to the units are just technically designed for their understanding).  However, it would be a feat for Cameroon Government preserving those jobs and saving another chain of millions of direct and indirect dependents on 
SONARA activities. Yet, the fire outbreak on SONARA’s central production unit at 9.55 pm on May31, 2019, was hyper ravenous. Expert analysts on radio waves are hastily insinuating that CFA hundreds of billions will be required to restore the working tool of Cameroon’s lone oil refinery. In the first place, the staff of SONARA is praising the Almighty for saving all their lives. However, some sixteen staff were reported wounded in their deployment to put out the fire, which consumed 70.769.400 litres of stock-fuel. The wounded are currently receiving treatment in Douala and other hospitals around with no threat of life. SONARA that had undergone an eight-month periodic work-stoppage due to internal works will certainly extend its holiday during which it will continue to import fuel for the Cameroonian market.  The visiting Minister of Energy and Water Resources explained that their delegation brought along a message of comfort from the Head of State and that “the refinery unit is not operational for the time being but SONARA is not going to shut down”. He asserted that imports would continue normally and SONARA Laboratory will continue to perform its income generating analysis normally. SONARA was created in 1973, incorporated in 1976. It entered a convention with the Cameroon Government on 11 January, 1978. From an initial capital of F CFA 400 Million that year, it climbed to CFA 14 billion in 1990, then 17.8 Billion in 1992 and currently their capital stands at F CFA 32.540.227.500.

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