By Follegwe II Menky, January 23, 2017
Cameroon Journal, Kumba – Following the total shutdown of internet connection in the entire North West and South West Regions, it has emerged that commercial banks and micro-finance institutions have been the most affected by the blackout.
Internet connectivity in the two Anglophone Regions was suspended since Tuesday January 17, and the network is yet to be restored by Government that shut it down.
Against this backdrop, financial transactions within and outside these two Anglophone regions are witnessing serious setback.
An official of a micro-finance institution in Kumba who will only revel his name as Neba, said they have incurred enormous financial losses due to the internet disconnection. “Wiring of money which
is our main source of income is not effective due to the internet shutdown…We virtually come and spend the whole day here without doing anything due to the blackout,” he said.
A Buea resident who pleaded for anonymity cursed the Government over the development. The resident said he tried to deposit some money into Ecobank account for two consecutive days to no avail. “I finally had to travel right to Douala to effect the transaction but it was too late as I could not beat the deadline. I had to pay a penalty of 30,000 FCFA. What a terrible situation,” the resident lamented.
Since the internet was shut down, investigations have shown the inability of banks to function normally. It is having a multiplier effect on the economy of the North West and South West Regions.
Business men have complained of not being able to carry out transactions while inhabitants too have expressed frustration of not being able to send or receive remittances within and out of the two Regions.
“I have gone for about two days without having what to eat, despite the fact that my son sent me money through Express Union Mobile. I have gone to the agency about five times to cash the money but the agents said there is no way because of the internet shutdown,” 60 year old Pa Ngu narrated with tears running down his cheeks.
We observed that most banks and micro-finance centres have long queues on a daily basis, but the needs of customers are hardly met due to the internet blackout. This is causing the banks millions every day.
The internet blackout which went into force few hours after a ban on the Southern Cameroons National Council and the Cameroon Anglophone Civil Society Consortium was still in effect by the time we took to press. There were no signs the internet will be restored anytime soon.