26 November 2012

Cameroon: Programme Budget for Economic Revival

The PM on Monday November 26 presented government's economic, financial, social and cultural programme for 2013. Members of Parliament can now begin in-depth scritunisation of the finance bill of the Republic of Cameroon for the 2013 fiscal year following the presentation yesterday November 26 of the country's economic, financial, social and cultural programme for 2013 by the Prime Minister and Head of Government, Philemon Yang, at the National Assembly.

Balance Sheet For 2012

According to the Head of Government, although there were challenges, government in 2012 made strides in the energy sector with hydro-energy projects like Lom-Pangar, Memve'ele, and the Kribi gas fired plant. Road infrastructure was improved upon while in the political domain, the electoral code was modernised. He also added that the skies are brighter for the Yaounde-Douala double-carriage highway project with the signing in 2012 of a FCFA 258 billion loan agreement between government and the Chinese import/export bank, Eximbank China. Some 24 community telecentres, he noted, were put into service and the One-Stop-Shop for business creation also yielded dividends with the creation of about 9,569 businesses.

Perspectives, Priority Areas

Going by the PM's presentation at the National Assembly in the ongoing third session of the 8th legislative period, government will in 2013 pay particular attention on reviving the economy as well as lay a solid groundwork for attaining the objectives of making Cameroon an emerging nation by 2035.

With an increase in the investment expenditure from FCFA 792 billion in 2012 to FCFA 957 billion in 2013 (an increase of FCFA 165 billion), government, the PM said, will embark on boosting the productive sectors of the economy to accelerate socio-economic growth in all segments. He announced notably the building of the second bridge on River Wouri, the start of the first phase of the Yaounde-Douala double carriage highway and the follow up of the investment programme of AES Sonel as well as the service the outfit offers the public. 160 rural localities will also be electrified as well as 26 others along the Cameroon/Nigeria borders, among others. "In the energy and water sectors, there are plans to continue with works to construct hydroelectricity dams and power plants, construction of storage depots for petroleum products in Yaounde and Douala," the PM said. He also added that with regards to road infrastructure for 2013, focus will be on road construction and maintenance programmes as well as on projects already in progress. These, the Head of Government noted, include the complete tarring of the Douala-N'Djamena corridor, the rehabilitation of urban roads in cities and secondary towns, the rehabilitation of earth and tarred roads as well as those in agro-pastoral and border areas.

Income & Expenditure

The FCFA 3,236 billion State budget for 2013, the PM said, is drafted on the macro-economic assumptions of an average per barrel price of 96.6 US dollar rate of FCFA 530 and a production of 28.8 million barrels, a Gross Domestic Product of 6.1 per cent and an inflation rate of about 2.1 per cent. Mr Yang disclosed that the package represents a FCFA 436 billion increase in absolute terms and 15.6 per cent in relative terms compared to FCFA 2,800 in 2012.

The budget will be sustained by domestic resources evaluated at FCFA 2,912 billion as against FCFA 2,280 billion compared to 2012. With this, oil revenue is projected at FCFA 705 billion (FCFA 148 billion increase in 2012), government bonds representing FCFA 250 billion while non-oil revenue is projected at FCFA 1,957 billion, representing a FCFA 234 billion increase compared to that of 2012. This is due mainly to an increase in tax and customs revenue respectively from FCFA 1,076 to FCFA 1,214 billion and FCFA 550 billion to FCFA 638 billion due to expected economic growth. There are also external resources amounting to FCFA 324 billion representing a 30 per cent increase from that of 2012 which stood at FCFA 249 billion. This will come mainly from loans, FCFA 258 billion (as against FCFA 183 billion in 2012) and grants to the tune of FCFA 66 billion idem as in 2012.

Expenditure forecasts show that priority will be given to fighting poverty and the living costs. This will be through maintaining subsidies to the pump prices of petroleum products, allocating more investment budget resources to growth sectors (energy, agriculture, infrastructure, mining, youth supervision and support to small and medium-size enterprises.

The novelty in yesterday's presentation was the time frame for the execution of projects. With the programme budget that now spans three years, the outlined government action will run from 2013-2015 with some projects to be executed entirely in 2013 while others will go to 2014 and 2015 at most.

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