The one-time richest man in Cameroon has seen his company booted out of the group of business magnets as his business woes continue to grow.
During the executive committee of the Cameroon Business Cartel,GICAM, the biggest employer organisation in Cameroon, PILCAM-owned by Fotso Victor- was expelled from the group alongside 42 other firms for failing to comply with various contractual clauses.
The companies have failed to pay their regular dues as members for the past two years in violation to article 2 of the body’s internal rules and regulations.
“This decision taken in accordance with Article 2 of the internal rules and regulations, and the decision was arrived at after due procedure with the opportunity given to the concerned (the companies dismissed) to justify themselves,” Gicam said in a communiqué signed by its Secretary General Alain Blaise Batongue.
Apart from the Cameroon battery manufacturing company (Pilcam), there were also high-profile companies on whom GICAM’s sledgehammer fell on like internet provider Ringo S.A, the match maker UNALOR, owned by another Cameroonian billionaire Samuel Foyou as well the International Company in charge of Railway Works (Sitrafer).
Pilcam’s dismissal from the business cartel does not come as a big surprise to keen economic observers of the market given the hardship and turbulent waves faced by the company in recent years.
The company has been rocked by several strike action from its workers demanding over several months of salary arrears.
In July 2016, the workers staged a two-week sit down strike in front of the company’s headquarters at the industrial zone in Bassa to demand ten months of salary arrears.
The company has since been folding away with several of its top managers nowhere to be found.
Curiously, its key product, the Hellesen battery keeps flooding the market even though production had long been suspended either as a result of workers’ strikes or staff retrenchment. Consequently, the batteries on the market could be fake products from doubted sources that have infiltrated the Cameroonian market.
“It has been a long time since we saw our top management around, even the head of human resources Mr. Paul Fanou is nowhere to be found, management has made us understand that the coffers are empty, and the company no longer manufactures. So the Hellesens batteries that are found in the market today are not manufactured by us but are counterfeit goods,” an electrical supervisor recently said during one of the company’s strike actions.
It is therefore no surprise the company has been unable to meet up with its financial obligation at the Cameroon Business cartel, given the body no option but to expel Pilcam.
Created in 1957, three years before the independence of Cameroon originally as the “Inter-professional group for the study and coordination of economic interests”, the business cartel was essentially composed of French investors.
It took fifteen years to see Cameroonians involved in the organisation and give the body a Cameroonian identity with local leaders.
In 1992, the organization became “Inter-employer Grouping of Cameroon” and established itself as the main economic force in the private sector.