Friday, March 15, 2024

Chad: No such thing as a free lunch?

 The republic of Chad is a landlocked country in Africa. From 1900 to 1960 it was a French colony. Following independence civil wars and dictatorship followed. Idriss Déby ruled as President until his demise in 2021 when  General Mahamat Déby, his son, took power. 

Over a third of Chad’s eighteen million population live in extreme poverty.

World Bank Date has only 11.3 per cent of Chadians having access to electricity (2021)

It’s now being reported that;  ‘Chad's government has announced that it would provide free water and electricity for households until the end of the year.

The monthly household consumption payable by the government is capped at 15 cubic metres (15,000 litres) of water and 300 kWh of electricity.

The government said it would also clear water and electricity bills for residents with outstanding arrears.

It also announced a cut in transport taxes that could lower transport costs, which hiked last month with a rise in fuel prices.

Chad's junta leader and interim President Mahamat Déby sanctioned the policy "to assist households", a joint statement by the presidency and finance minister said.

Some Chadians perceive the move as Mr Déby's attempt to endear to voters.

He will be vying for the presidency when Chad holds elections between May and June.

Some residents also say that the move is meaningless as several parts in the capital, N'Djamena, have faced a power outage for the past two weeks.

But some Chadians have welcomed the measure as a much-needed relief to the ongoing cost-of-living crisis.’

A further report states, ‘The authorities stated that they would as well settle water and electricity bills for residents who have unpaid bills.“

A system will also be put in place in agreement with the Ministry of Energy and the Société Nationale d’Electricité (SNE) to guarantee the free electricity consumed by households during the same period from March 1, 2024 for all two social tranches or equivalent, a total of 300 kWh per month and per subscribed household, including for subscribers in prepayment of the SNE,” Finance Minister Tahir Hamid Ngulin said.

“The requirements of this circular must be rigorously observed, and any difficulty in their application must be submitted to my attention,” the minister stated.

Additionally, the authorities announced a 50% decrease in various taxes on passenger transport. This has the potential to lower transportation costs, which increased last month due to rising fuel prices.

The transitional government’s announcement occurred after a month-long energy crisis in Chad, marked by frequent water and electricity supply cuts. The interruptions left many areas of the capital N’Djamena plunged into darkness for weeks.

This initiative comes two months prior to a presidential election scheduled for May 6, 2024. The leader of the military, General Mahamat Idriss Deby Itno, also known as Mahamat Kaka, and Prime Minister Sukkes Masra are candidates for the top post.

Mahamat Kaka  made a commitment to give power back to civilian authority after an 18-month transition period, but then increased it by two years.

’Whilst any alleviation of suffering by a population would be a positive there is not enough public information so far to conclude whether these are pie crust promises served up by a politician looking to hold on to power. 

For real jam today, and for tomorrow, the abolition of global capitalism and its replacement by Socialism is the only panacea that is practicable.

Promoted by The  Socialist Party of Great Britain, 52 Clapham High Street, London, SW4 7UN

No comments: