People have resorted to buying containers to store the increasingly scarce precious liquid.
If water scarcity that is increasingly recurrent in major cities in the country, especially Douala and Yaounde, were to persist for long, some inhabitants of these cities would be smiling. While some city dwellers are gnashing their teeth over the lack of the precious liquid others are capitalising on the mishap to fetch quick cash. These are people selling containers. Not only is the business flourishing in Yaounde but those getting into it say it is yielding returns.
At the Olezoa – Trois Stature junction considered the hub of the container business in Yaounde, business is on. In a chart with CT yesterday, some of the business people said business is better now than when taps are flowing regularly. According to Yannick Mbounou, his average daily sales now get to FCFA 50,000 as opposed to past days when he could spend a day without selling. He said the problem now is no longer with customers but getting what is highly needed. Most often customers, he said, prefer 10 – 20 litre containers whose supply falls far below demand. But with the water scarcity, he added, bigger containers are now selling as well. Proof is that in less than 10 minutes that we were there, people kept thronging the place to acquire the containers to secure water for future use given that its supply now is intermittent. He said 200 litre containers are sold at FCFA 13,000 and 1000 litre containers cost FCFA 60,000.
Like Yannick Mbounou, one of the sellers, Muandzevara Hassan Mvenyi, said the turnover now with the water scarcity is better. “I have a command to supply 50 twenty-litre containers each to two people and I don’t know where I can buy them”, Hassan said. Formerly a call-box operator who shuttled between the business and container sales, Hassan has settled on the sale of containers, stating that it now pays better than the two before. While customers we met on the spot were cursing the water scarcity for inflicting pain on them, the sellers were seemingly rejoicing over better sales. Despite the competition given the influx of many into the business, those already in it like Yannick who said he was the pioneer person there, are able to live from the business. Stumbling blocks, they said, are theft, constant harassment from officials of the Yaounde City Council as well as increasing cost price from wholesalers who supply the containers.