11 July 2012

Cameroon: What to Uphold in 2013 Public Investment Budget!

Projects for funding must be based on the objectives, programmes, actions, projects and tasks.

Cameroon aspires for emergence by 2035. Its development master plan; the ten-year (2010 - 2020) Growth and Employment Strategy Paper, is already in place. And vote holders, by a July 9, 2012 Presidential circular, orientating the preparation of the 2013 State budget, know already the stakes and challenges of the results-based budget code-named, "Programme budget" when it goes fully operational on January 1, 2013. Boosting public investment, through the nature of projects presented and envelop allocated, would not be the least of things to do.

Clarity, Precision of Projects

Gone are the days when vote holders presented their programmes in block for funding. The programme budget obliges them to detail their plans and needs. According to the Presidential circular, projects to benefit funding from the Public Investment Budget must be based on the objectives, programmes, actions, projects and tasks contained in the medium-term expenditure framework, in the priority action plans as well as in council's development plan.

GESP, The Guide

Since take off in 2010, the Growth and Employment Strategy Paper, GESP, has been serving as reference to all government development action. The Head of State has therefore reiterated that budgeting by programme has to be fully engaged by all so that government action could be easily followed up and controlled. As such, the Presidential circular on the budget likewise another recently published on public contracts, stipulates that development programmes (ministerial and sector by sector strategies) must be based on the Growth and Employment Strategy Paper.

The Projects

With focus to curb poverty to the barest minimum and step up the living conditions of the population, the Presidential circular has equally spelt out growth-induced sectors wherein investment is expected to gain grounds. "Economically, government should speed up the putting in place of energy programmes, including alternative energy sources like renewable energy to meet growing needs," the Head of State's circular prescribes. Other areas of capital importance include the development of transport infrastructure, modernising telecommunication, the effective take off of agricultural, mining and industrial projects, stepping up the competitiveness of the economy, among others. This is to ensure that the country reaches the envisaged 6.7 per cent growth rate in 2013 in its drive to becoming a middle-income economy by 2035 where by a double-digit growth rate is indispensable.

The Watchdog

The creation of the Ministry of Public Contracts, its organisation and a clear distinction on who plays what role in the public contracts sector is viewed as a means to curbing anomalies that hitherto characterised the formulation of contracts, their award and execution. Under the cacophony, the public investment budget was almost always sacrificed either as projects which had little or nothing to do with development were projected and in the worse of situations, the investment package left unconsumed by vote holders who saw no personal gain in the outlined projects.

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