27 November 2012

Cameroon: PM Yang Presents Priorities of 2013 Budget


Below is government's economic, financial, social and cultural programme for fiscal year 2013, Prime Minister Philemon Yang presented in the National Assembly on November 26, 2012.

- The Right Honourable Speaker of the National Assembly,

- Honourable Members of the Bureau of the National Assembly,

- Honourable Members of Parliament,

As Republican and Constitution tradition warrants, I am honoured to present Government's Economic, financial, Social and Cultural Programme for the fiscal year 2013.

I would like to begin by expressing my gratitude to the Right Honourable Speaker of the National Assembly for the kind words spoken to me and to the Government.

My thanks also go to you Honourable Members of Parliament for your warm welcome.

The Government appreciates the immense parliamentary work done during this LEgislature.

This abiding endeavour helped not only to strengthen the rule of law and considerably enhance governance, but also to accelerate economic growth and social development.

Today's session is special for at least two reasons.

Firstly, it offers an opportunity to assess 2012, the first year of implementation of the programme of "Major Accomplishments" defined by the President of the Republic, His Excellency Paul Biya - a programme for which he was elected by an overwhelming majority by all Cameroonians. None is blind to the significance of such an event.

Secondly, it allows us to chart prospects for fiscal year 2013 which marks the full effectiveness of Law No. 2007/006 of 26 December 2007 to institute the Financial Regime of the State. This law aligns our country to the new approach to public management through programme budgeting.

Honourable Members of Parliament,

Through the action of public authorities in 2012, our country made other noteworthy progress in the modernization of our system of democracy.

As you are aware, the President of the Republic took the commitment to further fine-tune our electoral system.

This vision is being concretized with the recompilation of voters' registers by ELECAM, coupled with the introduction of biometrics.

Besides, with the passing by the National Assembly and subsequent promulgation of Law No. 2012/001 of 19 April 2012, our country was endowed with an Electoral Code. This Code has the advantage of bringing together in a single document all instruments relating to the management of elections in Cameroon.

These reforms emanate from a strong political will impelled by the Head of State during the political dialogue between the Government and all protagonists of the electoral process in Cameroon.

Our development partners supported us throughout the process. I now avail myself of this opportunity to reiterate to them the sincere gratitude of the Government and the Cameroonian people.

Public governance was also enhanced during 2012.

Anti-corruption crusade: Acceleration

The fight against corruption and the embezzlement of public funds was continued with even greater determination. Government's action in that regard continued to be aligned to the strong option taken by the President of the Republic to fight corruption. The following excerpt of his general policy speech at the third ordinary Congress of the CPDM summarizes this (I quote): "My determination to fight this scourge is total and the fight against corruption will continue to be intensified, without discrimination and without regard for the social status or political leaning of those incriminated". (End of quote).

This means that the moralization of behaviour in public management stems from a constant, coherent approach in the New Deal's governance policy. This fight has no underhand political undertones neither is it the result of pressure from certain quarters.

In the same vein, I would like to duff my hat to the Members of Parliament for supporting the merciless fight that Government is waging against the embezzlement of public funds.

A Special Criminal Court has been created and commissioned to improve and accelerate judicial proceedings related to this operation.

The key mission of this court, which is not a special jurisdiction, is to support public authorities in their efforts to punish the embezzlement of public funds.

In a bid to prevent the phenomenon upstream, the President of the Republic created a Ministry in charge of Public Contracts to significantly improve the system of public procurement of goods and services.

The key missions of this ministry are to ensure good governance and transparency, and to fight corruption in the contract award process. To do that, the positive achievements of the old system have been preserved, such as:

- maintaining the network of independent observers;

- reaffirming the principle of healthy competition;

- free access to public contracts; and

- equal treatment of bidders.

The following novelties were introduced therein:

the procurement period has been reduced by about 30% in normal procedure from 90 to 70 days and by 50% in procedure of urgency, from 3 months to one and a half month;

the authorized threshold of jobbing orders has increased from 30 to 50 million CFA Francs;

the size of central tenders boards has been reduced by half.

In territorial and local governance, our country forged ahead with its decentralisation agenda, pursuing the transfer of powers and resources to local authorities.

Government's efforts also focused on modernizing territorial administration, tightening civil protection measures and building the operational capacities of devolved State services.

The modernization of the civil status registry was high on Government's agenda.

During the year that is ending, apart from continuing the clean-up campaign of the management of public affairs, Government action in the justice sector was mainly marked by:

- the construction and rehabilitation of infrastructure in the Ministry of Justice and in courts;

- the further training of staff of judicial and penitentiary services;

- the computerization of the judicial system to reduce delays in the production of court judgements;

- the promotion and protection of human rights and liberties;

- the enhancement of the criminal and penitentiary policy by rehabilitating 11 prisons, continuing to sink bore holes in 12 prisons and providing computer equipment to prisons;

- the formulation of a law on mediation to improve the business climate, as recommended by the Cameroon Business Forum;

- the opening of administrative courts in the ten regions.

The public service sub-sector scored some good points including:

- the effective computerization of incremental positions of State employees in 34 of 37 planned ministries. The time taken to process files has reduced by nearly 70%;

- the finalization and dissemination of the Reference Framework of State Human Resource Management;

- the introduction of performance standards in Government departments;

- the installation of the System for the Integrated Management of State Personnel and Payroll (SIGIPES) and its application in 36 out of 37 ministries, as part of the devolved management of State personnel and payroll;

- the implementation of rapid results initiatives which made it possible to reduce the time for processing the salary files of new recruits into the Public Service from 12 months initially to 6 months;

- further sensitization of State employees and users of ministries that the Public Service is free of charge, as part of the anti-corruption drive.

The Right Honourable Speaker of the National Assembly,

Honourable Members of Parliament,

The global economic slump due to the economic crisis of 2008 continued but did not worsen significantly in 2012. Thus, the International Monetary Fund reduced the global growth forecasts made earlier in the year, especially for advanced countries. The EURO zone is the region that is most affected by the negative effects of the crisis. Even emerging economies will experience slower economic growth at the end of this year.

It goes without saying that our country was not totally spared from the negative effects of the persistent global economic crisis. Implementation of the 2012 budget suffered, especially because of the hike in oil prices and the fall of the Euro-to-dollar parity.

The situation of our country deteriorated somewhat due to the effects of natural disasters. The most serious occurred in the North and Far-North Regions in 2012, and caused loss of lives and significant material damage.

Cameroonians, especially their illustrious leader and his wife, spontaneously expressed their solidarity through various forms of support. On that occasion, the President of the Republic instructed the Government to implement a number of measures. The most urgent and the short-term measures have already been implemented. Other more structural ones will be implemented next year.

I seize this opportunity to again convey Government's message of comfort to all families who were affected by these disasters.

Infrastructure development: key priority

Despite the above difficulties, Government spared no effort to realize the public investments that you were kind to authorise under the 2012 Finance Law.

The priority remained the development of infrastructure.

As in the past, the Government placed special emphasis on the energy and water sector. Priority was given to major overarching projects capable of creating employment and wealth.

The actions taken in electricity concerned:

- the continued implementation of major overarching projects, namely:

the Kribi gas power plant;

the Lom Pangar storage dam;

the Memve'ele hydro-electricity dam on River Ntem ;

the Mekin hydro-electricity dam;

- the rehabilitation, renovation and renewal of power generation facilities by the public concession-holder, AES SONEL ;

- the commissioning of four thermal plants with a total capacity of 100 megawatts under the Emergency Thermal Programme ;

- the update of the Electricity Sector Development Master Plan by 2030 ;

- rural electrification works carried out in all regions through internal and external financing.

With regard to the water and sanitation sub-sector, the action of public authorities concerned strengthening urban and rural water supply.

In urban areas, the Government worked to increase drinking water supply through the implementation of water supply projects. The project initiated in Douala in that regard has been completed while that of Yaounde is still ongoing. The same is true of the project to rehabilitate and extend the drinking water supply systems of 52 urban centres. Studies have also been completed and financing is available for similar projects in the North and Far-North Regions.

With regard to rural water supply, an inventory of drinking water supply infrastructure is being conducted. The African Development Bank is currently working with Government to finance a major rural water supply project. Lastly, the State has disbursed and transferred funds for the construction of 321 rural water supply schemes in the 10 regions.

With regard to road infrastructure, all the ten regions of Cameroon had their share of road construction and rehabilitation projects. These include but are not limited to:

the tarring of the Ayos-Bonis road, especially the completion of the Abong-Mbang-Bonis section; as well as the Mengong-Sangmelima, Nkolessong-Nding; Djoum-Mintom, Sangmelima-Bikoula and Bikoula-Djoum roads;

the construction of the Nandeke-Mbere; Mbere- Ngaoundere; Garoua Boulai-Ngaoundere; Garoua Boulai-Nandeke; Obala-Nkolessong; Obala-Batchenga- Bouam and Numba-Bachuo-Akagbe; Zoetele-Nkolyop; Foumban-Mape bridge and Ekok-Bamenda roads as well as the Ndop-Kumbo section of the Ring Road ;

the development of the entrance road into Kumba ;

the rehabilitation of the Pont de l'Enfance bridge and the Dabanga-Kousseri road;

the development of the Kousseri by-pass road ;

the construction of engineering structures, notably the LOKOMO bridge between Yokadouma and Moloundou, the AWOUT and LOBO bridges between Mbalmayo and Sangmelima, and the new bridge on MAYO BOULA at Salak ;

the execution of the Special Emergency Road Programme decided by the Head of State, for a total amount of 100 billion CFA Francs. The concerned projects are the following: the Obala-Batchenga-Bouam road (Nding-Magba), the rehabilitation of the Yaounde-Mbalmayo-Ebolowa, Yaounde-Bafoussam-Bamenda and Ngaoundere-Garoua roads.

At the same time, Government achieved an annual road maintenance rate of 87% in 2012 on the main priority network. It is calmly continuing its rural road maintenance programmes with financing from the Public Investment Budget, the Debt Cancellation and Development Contract (C2D) and the Road Fund. The goal is to open up agro-pastoral production, touristic and border zones.

Operations to protect the road heritage also continued with the construction of more modern weigh-stations on unprotected roads and systematic inspection of axle load. The Government also signed a loan agreement of 258 billion CFA Francs with EXIMBANK China for the construction of the first section of the Yaounde-Douala motorway.

Urban development: infrastructure rehabilitation continued

With regard to urban development, the Government placed emphasis in 2012 on:

- easing traffic on the entrance roads to large cities with the effective start of construction works of the Yaounde East thruway (Mimboman-Nkoabang stretch on 7 km) and the complete rehabilitation of the Bafoussam thoroughfare;

- the start of rehabilitation works of urban roads and development of major road junctions in Yaounde, Douala, Garoua, Kumba, Limbe and Maroua ;

- the effective start of infrastructure rehabilitation works in Edea, Nanga Eboko, Monatele and Bangante and rehabilitation of tarred and earth roads in 38 other secondary towns ;

- the design of the town planning master plans of Kumba, Nkongsamba, Mora and Wum and land occupancy plans of Abong-Mbang, Dschang, Kousseri, Kumbo, Mokolo, Yagoua, Nanga Eboko and Sangmelima.

Further, the programme to construct 10,000 low-cost houses continued in Yaounde-Olembe where construction works of the first houses of the pilot phase are about 95% done.

In Douala, the first phase of construction of 560 houses at Mbanga-Bakoko is estimated at 40%.

In the domain of transport, the public authorities are working harder every day to ease the movement of people and goods.

With regard to rail transport, apart from the rehabilitation of the Batchenga-Ka'a section approved by the World Bank, the Government is working to improve transport conditions by procuring 53 coaches by CAMRAIL and finalize the project to construct the railway line with a view to the mining of iron at MBALAM and bauxite at MINI MARTAP. Similarly, the Government undertook to review the concession agreement with CAMRAIL and to set up a State-owned investment company in this sector.

In air transport, the construction works of the future National Weather Centre were continued. Also, the file for the establishment in Cameroon of the headquarters of the Regional Climate Centre - the framework for monitoring climate and adaptation to climate change - is on track.

The national carrier CAMAIR-Co continued its maturation in 2012, offering a wider range of services and generating a higher turnover. Government also completed the drafting of a new legal and institutional framework of civil aviation in Cameroon.

Structural reforms continued in the telecommunications sector, as evidenced by the signing of the instruments of implementation of the laws governing electronic communication, cyber-safety and electronic commerce.

The most outstanding achievement in the sector is the imminent completion of the process to grant a third licence for the operation of a mobile telephony network. This will be accompanied by the introduction of third-generation frequency resources commonly called 3-G.

The construction of a second landing point of the sub-marine fibre optic cable in Limbe will boost electronic communication infrastructure.

With the completion of the planned operation to lay 3,200 km of optic fibre between Kyé-Ossi and Kousseri, Government launched works for the first phase of construction of the Sub-Regional Telecommunications Maintenance Centre in Yaounde. Construction works of the Yaounde metropolitan optic fibre loop have also begun. Twenty-four multi-purpose community tele-centres were commissioned. Lastly, the Yaounde Central Post Office was enriched by a public key infrastructure (PKI) with the precious support of the Republic of Korea in the form of a grant of 1.4 billion CFA Francs.

In the postal sector, the e-Post project is phasing in. 27 post offices in the Centre Region and 6 in Littoral are now connected by fibre optic. The partnership with SOFREPOST for the rehabilitation of the national postal network has been renewed.

Mineral exploitation: resources development accelerated

The Government also strove to rationalize the exploitation of energy, mining and forestry resources.

With regard to the oil and gas sub-sector, Government carried out actions to:

- increase the storage capacity of transit depots by building a 6,000 m3 gasoil reservoir at Bessengue ;

- shortlist contractors, for the construction of two other 6,500 m3 gasoil and premium reservoirs to make good the shortage in the Yaounde area; and

- construct a safety belt around the Nsam fuel depot to ensure the safety of local residents.

Actions in the mining sector were mainly aimed at:

- developing mining resources;

- restructuring and modernizing the Geological Documentation Centre;

- finalizing the file of Cameroon's accession to the Kimberley Process aimed at better tracking the marketing of uncut diamonds;

- supervising 12,000 small-scale miners through the support programme for the development of small-scale mining activities.

Government's action in the forestry and wildlife sector was characterized this year by:

- the complete revision of the Forestry/Environment Sector Programme (FESP) Paper to align it to the new budgetary framework of the State;

- strengthening of the training of eco-guards;

- reforestation of the right banks of the Benoue in the North;

- management and development of wildlife and protected areas, raising the target areas from 67% to 90% and increasing by 20% the planted areas.

In the environment sector, the Cameroon Mangrove Eco-systems Conservation and Participatory Management Project in Kribi-Campo achieved 58% of its goals. In the same vein, the strategy on access to genetic resources and benefits-sharing (AFES) achieved 95% of its objectives. Actions to fight pollution, nuisances and harmful or dangerous chemical substances were pursued, allowing for the finalization of a new regulation and stepping up of repression.

With regard to the fight against desertification and climate change, the implementation of the Green Sahel Project and REDD+ Mechanism for Reducing Emissions due to Deforestation and Forest Degradation were pursued. The latter achieved 90% of its goals. Meanwhile, the environmental and social impact assessments and audits conducted made it possible this year to issue 121 compliance certificates.

The Right Honourable Speaker of the National Assembly,

Honourable Members of Parliament,

Although oil, minerals and forest products are key resources that can make a country rich, we must not forget that these resources are not renewable. The Dutch syndrome is still fresh in our minds, reminding us that to develop our country, we must turn towards renewable resources and produce agricultural and industrial goods. For that reason, in 2012, special attention was paid to agro-pastoral and industrial production and the services sector.

The objectives set for our agriculture during 2012 were: (i) the development of plant production; (ii) the pursuit of agricultural education and training; (iii) the promotion of agricultural employment; (iv) the financing of the rural sector; and (v) the development of the institutional sector.

The actions carried out in this domain concerned:

- promoting the production of quality seeds and plant material;

- increasing support for the production of basic foodstuffs;

- promoting agricultural jobs through extension of the Young Farmers' Scheme;

- monitoring post-Ebolowa Agric Show activities;

- continuing the installation of a reliable system for the collection and dissemination of agricultural statistics;

- implementing the national rice development strategy with the support of Japanese Cooperation. 10,000 tonnes of quality rice seeds have already been produced and distributed;

- actively preparing the general agricultural census;

- continuing agricultural mechanization with the production and distribution of the first tractors manufactured in the Ebolowa factory as part of cooperation with the Government of India.

Government's priority actions in the livestock and animal industries sector focused on the development of animal productions, including animal health and veterinary public health as well as the rearing of heavy livestock and short-cycle species.

In the same area, Government:

- completed the construction of the Douala Foodstuff Analysis Laboratory;

- built community infrastructure and facilities for farmers, especially ice plants, sheds for the sale of fish, modern smoking and drying units, drinking water supply systems, mini-milk units and milk-collection buildings;

- ensured the genetic improvement of milk- and beef-producing cattle through the artificial insemination of over 1,000 heifers;

- continued the improvement of cattle health coverage and the fight against zoonosis.

Still in this domain, Government in 2012 continued supporting and supervising family smallholders through the Smallholders Competitiveness Improvement Programme.

Further, the Agricultural Competitiveness Improvement Programme (ACIP) supported 35 projects in the poultry sub-sector and 31 in the porcine sub-sector for an envelope of 286 million CFA Francs. For its part, the National Agricultural Extension and Research Programme (NAERP) supervised stockbreeders for the production of 8,506 small ruminants, the fattening of 18,480 pigs, the production of 450,566 meat-producing chicken, 11,000 piglets, 30,800 layers and 1,508 grass-cutters.

The fishery sector benefited from the following actions:

- completion of construction works of the Limbe Nautical Arts and Crafts and Fishing Institute;

- the strengthening of capacity to monitor fishery activities by satellite by installing beacons on industrial fishing boats and launches. This allowed for better monitoring, inspection and supervision of fishery activities;

- the opening of a line of credit of 350 million CFA Francs for fishermen as part of the Support Programme for the Development of Artisanal Maritime Fishery;

- the rehabilitation of three (3) fishery seed farms now operational in Bamessing and Ku-Bome in the North-West Region and Foumban in the West Region.

SME: boom in technological innovations

At the level of industrial policy, the Government worked to improve the competitiveness of the Cameroonian industry, consolidate the industrial base and develop quality standards. Technological innovations and intellectual property assets witnessed a boom. Key actions taken include:

- the ongoing drafting of instruments of implementation of the Investments Charter;

- support for several private initiatives seeking to create or develop cement plants in Limbe, Douala and Yaounde;

- support for the installation of a scrap-metal smelting and carbon-reducing plant for the manufacture of metals;

- the implementation of the project to improve the productivity and competitiveness of the palm oil sector, through the construction of pilot sites at Mkpot, Ngi and Bakingili ;

- the signing of a partnership agreement for the construction of an inorganic fertilizer production plant;

- the implementation of a sugar mill project in the Bertoua-Batouri inter-zone;

- the revision of the law on standardization.

As far as small and medium sized enterprises are concerned, year 2012 was marked by the implementation of the Cameroon Business Forum recommendations, especially the streamlining of administrative formalities for setting up businesses in Cameroon. The opening of business set-up formality centres made it possible to create about 9,569 businesses.

Government, in synergy with institutional stakeholders and developers of small and medium sized enterprises, completed the construction of Agro-Food Centres in Bertoua, Ebolowa and Limbe, specialized in the processing and conservation of cassava, cocoa and fishery products.

The public authorities also disbursed 100 million CFA Francs to the people of various localities as support for local development initiatives.

The development of handicrafts was seen in actions geared towards tapping the immense potential of our country in this sector. The highlight was the third edition of the Cameroon International Handicrafts Fair (SIAC) organized in February 2012 and attended by 600 national and foreign craftsmen. The Government also finalized the construction of 5 (five) new handicraft villages in Bamenda, Douala, Ebolowa, Garoua and Limbe. Construction works were continued on the Yaounde International Handicraft Centre and the Maroua, Bertoua, Ngaoundere and Bafoussam handicraft villages.

We went on the offensive in our trade policy during 2012. The actions taken consisted in:

- pursuing domestic market regulation, by tackling head-on speculation and unfair competition;

- fighting the fraudulent export of cash crops, mostly cotton in the north of the country and rubber in the south;

- revitalizing the cocoa/coffee sub-sector by developing five sites for the construction of storage facilities in Mvengue, Zoetele, Soa, Galim and Lobo ;

- showcasing Cameroonian exports through the effective organization of economic and trade days abroad, especially in the United States, Morocco, Brazil, China and Germany;

- fast-tracking the promotion of cross-border trade within CEMAC through the women's support programme;

- supporting the construction of periodic markets in 21 localities, as part of the transfer of powers to councils;

- pursuing actions to curb the rising cost of living by rendering consumer goods affordable and accessible. Following measures taken by the Authority charged with Regulating the Supply of Consumer Goods (MIRAP), consumers were offered a variety of products at prices 15% lower than those in ordinary local markets.

The Government performed a herculean task in the State property and surveys sector. The main actions undertaken include:

- the securing of 122,000 hectares of land for the major overarching projects being implemented;

- the payment of 7 billion 332 million CFA Francs as compensation to populations affected by the implementation of these projects;

- the resettlement of the people of Lom Panger in duly developed zones;

- the formation of a land reserve of 850,000 hectares meant for agro-industry in various regions of the Republic;

- the provision of 1,000 hectares of land for low-cost housing in the 10 regional headquarters;

- the development of 1,104 land parcels for building plots in Douala and Yaounde;

- the continuation of the computerization of 130,000 land certificates and installation of a database for 480,000 land parcels;

- the start of the land reform prescribed by the Head of State with a view to improve the settlement of land disputes and rational management of our lands.

The Right Honourable Speaker of the National Assembly,

Honourable Members of Parliament,

In the domain of communication, the general forum scheduled in the days ahead will be an opportunity to conduct an objective diagnosis of social communication in Cameroon and introduce the necessary improvements to transform it into a better instrument of social cohesion, democracy and development.

On the social and cultural front, the public authorities always remembered that investing in human capital remains key to growth and development.

Basic education benefited from the creation of 345 nursery and 415 primary schools. Further, 693 new primary and nursery classrooms were built using the public investment budget for a total amount of 5 billion 684 million CFA Francs. In Bakassi and Darak, 12 service houses were built for 167.5 million CFA Francs to better settle teachers transferred to these handed-back territories.

Added to this effort made by Government were the significant inputs of our external partners who helped to build 1,922 other new classrooms as follows: 1,588 by French Cooperation, 190 by Japanese Cooperation and UNICEF and 144 by the Islamic Development Bank.

To secure the certification system, the Ministry of Basic Education continued to produce close to 327,000 certificates for the Certificat d'Etudes Primaires, First School Leaving Certificate and Grade I and Grade II certificates for primary and nursery school teachers.

Lastly, in 2012, Government recruited a contingent of 2,385 Grade I teachers in addition to the 7,461 recruited during the last contractualization programme supported by Cameroon's technical and financial partners.

Secondary education was not left out. In 2012, Government action in this sector focused on:

1) the construction of 740 classrooms and 40 workshops;

2) the construction of 5 multimedia resource centres;

3) the procurement of 6,700 desks;

4) The creation of 106 Government secondary schools (GSS) and 87 Government technical colleges (GTC);

5) the transformation of 95 Government secondary schools into Government high schools and bilingual high schools and 25 Government Technical Colleges into Government technical high schools (GTHS);

6) the opening of 119 new secondary schools and 90 new technical colleges;

7) the signing of an agreement of 8 billion CFA Francs with the Islamic Development Bank for the project to reinforce technical education.

In the same vein, the Practising Hotel Management and Tourism Project in Kribi, costing 442 million CFA Francs, was partially delivered.

In Higher Education, the Government worked not only to increase and diversify the supply of higher education to young Cameroonians but also to enhance the quality, social relevance and professionalization of courses. It also ensured better working and living conditions for members of the university community.

In that regard, the following major actions were carried out during the year that is ending:

- the university and tertiary education map in Cameroon was finalized;

- 10 (ten) new private institutes of higher learning were opened and the Pan-African University started operating in the campuses of the Universities of Yaounde I and II;

- the special recruitment of 1,000 new university lecturers as authorized by the Head of State was completed, to concretize his desire to improve the lecturer/student ratio currently at 1 to 56 whereas the UNESCO standard is 1 to 22;

- ultramodern equipment was acquired in the National Advanced School of Engineering in Yaounde for 1 billion 800 million CFA Francs;

Significant progress was achieved in the social sector during the year that is ending. Government action centred on:

- improving assistance to orphans and vulnerable children;

- intensifying actions to check the phenomenon of street children and offer more social protection to socially maladjusted minors. In this wise, 213 new street children were identified, 151 others taken off the streets and 131 handed back to their families;

- supervising 293 minors in detention;

- improving the technical support unit of the Paul Emile Leger National Centre for the Rehabilitation of Handicapped Persons at Etoug-Ebe.

Health: epidemic diseases controlled

In the public health sector, efforts were made to improve maternal and infant health; control epidemic diseases; develop health districts and promote hospital governance by improving working conditions therein.

In that regard, the main actions undertaken concerned:

- increasing the proportion of assisted deliveries from 40% to 50%;

- strengthening routine vaccination so as to raise the immunization coverage rate to over 80%, representing a total cost of 7 billion 651 million CFA Francs;

- creating regional centres for the management, prevention and control of epidemics in Bafoussam, Douala, Maroua and Yaounde;

- significantly reducing the prevalence of malaria among children aged below 5 years, with an achievement rate of 86% at a total cost of 1 billion 657 million CFA Francs ;

- continuing the free treatment by antiretroviral drugs of persons living with HIV/AIDS for a total cost of 5 billion 975 million CFA Francs;

- extending dialysis and medical imaging centres countrywide;

- procuring a hundred incinerators to dispose of hospital wastes;

- recruiting 3,000 new health workers;

- strengthening actions to fight corruption and fake drugs: During Operation COBRA undertaken in that connection, street-peddled drugs worth an estimated 2 billion 288 million CFA Francs were seized and destroyed;

- designing guides for public hospital users.

In 2012, Government's employment and vocational training agenda focused especially on:

- the start of construction works of 3 (three) excellence vocational training centres with the support of the Republic of Korea;

- the placement of 10,602 new job-seekers by employment contractors and approved private job placement offices;

- the placement of 721 nationals after consulting the contracting authorities of major overarching projects;

- support for the creation of 5,148 independent jobs and financing of 3,291 micro-projects through the National Employment Fund;

- opening of 6 rural non-agricultural vocational training centres and 3 (three) sector-based vocational training centres with the support of French Cooperation.

In the Labour and social security sector, the priorities of the Government this year hinged on:

- continuing the policy of permanent social dialogue that helped to preserve a climate of peace in workplaces;

- revitalizing employer/employee dialogue institutions, especially the National Labour Advisory Board at whose recent meeting the amendment of the 14 August 1992 law instituting the Labour Code was finalized;

- the creation, commissioning and monitoring of 128 Committees of Hygiene and Safety at Workplaces to further prevent occupational risks;

- the promotion of cooperation actions and respect of Cameroon's external commitments.

In women's empowerment and the family, a National Family Policy Paper and a Prenuptial, Matrimonial and Family Education Guide were validated.

The Ministerial Strategy Paper on Women's Empowerment and the Family and the Women's Political Training Manual were also finalized.

With regard to Culture and Arts, the Government in 2012 worked to:

- rehabilitate the Cameroon Cultural Centre;

- rehabilitate a cinema hall in the Ministry in charge of culture;

- support the rehabilitation of museums in traditional chiefs' palaces ;

- continue the putting in place of the National Museum and Contemporary Art Gallery and the construction of the National Arts and Culture Institute;

- intensify the fight against piracy of creative works;

- complete the dematerialization and digitalizing of national archives;

- finalize the draft law on the protection of the national cultural heritage.

In sport, several projects were continued. These include but are not limited to:

- construction works of multi-purpose stadiums and gymnasiums in Bafoussam and Limbe,

- construction works of stadiums in Matomb and Ngoumou ;

- enrolment of 620 young people in National Youth and Sports Centres (CENAJES) and the National Institute of Youth and Sports (INJS) ;

Government hopes to capital on the enthusiasm created by the start of activities of the National Civic Service Agency to implement its youth supervision policy.

The Right Honourable speaker of the National Assembly,

Honourable Members of Parliament,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

The overview that we have just presented amply shows that during the 2012 financial year, Government spared no effort to implement the actions prescribed by the Head of State, His Excellency Paul Biya, through the roadmaps of ministries. The realization of these actions had a positive impact on our economic growth. Real gross domestic product (GDP) grew at an estimated rate of 5.1% in 2012 against 4.1% in 2011. Our country thus gained 1 percentage point between 2011 and 2012.

Notwithstanding the particularly difficult international context, our economy has continued to grow. The growth rate of Cameroon's gross domestic product (GDP) rose from 1.9% in 2009 to 3.2% in 2010, 4.1% in 2011 and is estimated at 5.1% in 2012.

Although on an upward trend, this growth rate is still too low for our country to achieve the Millennium Development Goals by 2015. Consequently, all energies must converge towards the target of two-digit growth in order to transform the country into an emerging economy by 2035. This is contingent on the all-round increase in national production - the only key to the higher incomes and better well-being of the populations.

Programme budgeting: decisive in public management

In that regard, programme budgeting, enshrined in the law instituting the Financial Regime of the State, will be decisive in improving public management as expected.

In fact, fifty years of experience with resource-based budgeting have exposed its numerous weaknesses. These include the practice of services voted, wastage in the recurrent budget and the under-consumption of investment votes.

Other weaknesses are as follows:

- national priorities were poorly articulated in the budget;

- the needs of the population at the grassroots were not sufficiently taken into account;

- it was difficult to measure the impact of public spending;

- the obligation of performance did not exist;

- the strict application of the principle of budget annuality had negative impacts.

- resources were automatically carried forward from one year to the next;

- there was no medium-term visibility.

We are certain that the programme budget that will become effective in the next fiscal year will help to reverse this trend. Government departments will have to "do better with less", to use an expression that the President of the Republic loves.

The combination of effectiveness and efficiency will boost performance in the realization of public policy objectives. Performance audits, instituted by the Financial Regime of the State, alongside regularity audits, will ensure this. The competence of the National Assembly has been reinforced accordingly.

Thus, as a public finance management tool, programme budgeting consists in preparing, presenting and implementing Finance Laws based on programmes. In this method, ministries set medium-term goals and define the results they hope to achieve, accompanied by indicators for measuring these results afterwards. This is therefore a strategic management tool used in scheduling, planning and adjusting public action.

In line with the requirements of this new approach in public finance management, the Government will request for commitment authorizations to implement an ambitious programme covering the period from 2013 to 2015.

Honourable Members of Parliament,

Before presenting Government's Economic, Financial, Cultural and Social Programme for the 2013 financial year, I will like to dwell on the key medium-term sector objectives of the State as outlined in the programmes that will be submitted for your approval.

It goes without saying that these medium-term priorities are primarily based on an ambitious infrastructure policy. It will serve as the catalyst of growth and create a spill-over effect on the other sectors of activity.

As far as roads are concerned, the focus will be to intensify tarring works. By 2020, the linear distance of tarred roads will increase by 17% against 10% in 2009, and border zones will be opened up.

The goal by 2015 is to increase the linear distance of the tarred structuring and non-structuring network and the rural network to 4,086 km and 2,214 km against 3,486 km and 1,764 km in 2010, respectively. During the same period, Government will build a 500-metre linear distance of engineering structures and open 1,500 km of feeder roads.

For their part, rehabilitation actions will concern 847 km of tarred roads, 2,000 km of the main earth-road network, 1,150 km of rural roads, 2,010 metres of engineering structures, maintenance of 6,300 km of the priority network and 4,000 km of the non-priority network, 22 weigh-stations for the protection of the road heritage and environment.

The major road projects in the 2013-2015 period are the following:

the construction of the second bridge on the Wouri ;

the construction of the East and West entrance roads into Douala ;

the construction of the first section of the Yaounde-Douala motorway;

the tarring of the North-South corridor of the Trans-African Highway and CEMAC road network;

the rehabilitation of the Dabanga-Kousseri, Figuil-Magada, Ngaoundere-Maroua roads.

In the energy sector, the Government will carry out the following medium-term projects:

- development of the Bini hydro-electricity dam at Warak;

- the development of the Menchum hydro-electricity project;

- the monitoring of the AES-SONEL investment programme and the quality of public service;

- the electrification of 160 localities in order to improve access to electrification in rural areas;

- the electrification of the headquarters of administrative units;

- the electrification of 26 localities situated along the Cameroon-Nigeria border and 28 localities in the Mount Mandara area;

- the implementation of the electricity sector development plan by 2030.

Drinking water: 410 billion FCFA to be invested

During the 2013-2015 period, the Government will work in the drinking water sector to increase quantitative and qualitative supply. CAMWATER will implement a ten-year investment programme for 410 billion CFA Francs. This programme concerns particularly the cities of Douala and Yaounde and a few secondary towns including Edea, Ngaoundere and Bertoua.

In sanitation and town planning, the concern will be to properly manage the occupancy of urban space and significantly reduce the proportion of indecent housing in urban centres. Key actions in this area will focus on: developing urban transport infrastructure; improving the legal and institutional framework and promoting urban governance. In the long run, Government will encourage the construction 17,000 low-cost houses and develop 800 ha of land for building plots. Further, she will favour the restructuring and rehabilitation of unplanned urban neighbourhoods for a total land area of 500 ha.

With regard to transport infrastructure, the Government will, during the 2013-2015 period, develop and rehabilitate basic infrastructure, strengthen the safety system of the different modes of transport and improve the system of collection of meteorological data. Its actions will include especially:

the construction of the following rail sections: Edea-Lolabe (136 km), Mbalam-Lolabe (376.6 km), Ngaoundere-Douala (504.2 km), Douala-Limbe (73.5 km);

the procurement of 4 locomotives and 15 coaches;

the construction and rehabilitation of airport infrastructure, mostly: rehabilitating the runways of the Douala, Garoua and Yaounde international airports and the Maroua, Bertoua and Bamenda airports;

the construction and rehabilitation of maritime, port, river and lake transport facilities; this mostly entails building the Kribi and Limbe deep-sea ports and deepening the Douala port channel.

The concern of the telecommunication and postal sector in the medium-term will be to increase the quantitative and qualitative least-cost access to electronic communication and postal services throughout the country. The goal is to have reliable facilities in sufficient numbers. 12,000 km of fibre optic will be laid and the number of users increased from 7 million to 10 million. There are also plans to build 350 sales points of physical postal products.

The production and services sectors, which account for a significant percentage of gross domestic product formation, will receive special attention from Government during the 2013-2015 period.

In the agricultural sector, the objective of putting in place second-generation agriculture will be continued. This will require increasing productivity so that from 2012 to 2015, the production of key crops will increase as follows:

- cocoa: from 278,000 tonnes to 320,000 tonnes;

- Arabica coffee : from 11,000 tonnes to 25,000 tonnes;

- Robusta coffee : from 50,000 tonnes to 100,000 tonnes;

- Cotton: from 186,000 tonnes to 250,000 tonnes;

- Millet and sorghum : from 1,305,727 tonnes to 1,500,000 tonnes;

- Paddy rice: from 181,817 tonnes to 205,000 tonnes.

The main challenge in the livestock and fisheries sector is to significantly increase the supply of animal and fish proteins. With regard to maritime fishing in particular, the concern will be to tap to the maximum our huge fishery potential in the Bakassi area. Actions to be implemented include:

increasing the quantity of animal products to 510,400 tonnes in the medium term against 441,930 in 2012 ;

cleaning up the environment of animal and fishery productions and the health status of livestock;

increasing the quantity of fishery products from 176,000 tonnes in 2011 to 298,000 tonnes in 2015 ;

developing short-cycle rearing and heavy livestock.

Our forestry and wildlife sector will ultimately witness the development of forests, renewal of resources, protection and development of wildlife and protected areas, and promotion and processing of non-ligneous forest resources. In the long run, 7,520,000 hectares of forest will be developed against 5,421,094 currently. Planted trees will number 8,100,000 against 7,540,000 while 2,900,000 m3 of timber will be marketed against 2,300,000 currently. Furthermore, 1,500,000 m3 of timber will be sold on the local timber market.

With regard to industry and mines, the Government plans to develop new sub-sectors in the medium term and increase the supply of manufactured products. Improving industrial sub-sector competitiveness will help to raise the share of manufactured goods on the domestic market by 45% in 2015. Similarly, if more value is given to our inventions, technological innovations and intellectual property assets, the global volume of industrial properties will increase by 10%. The key actions concern:

the promotion of an attractive framework for industrial diversification;

the intensification of geological and mining research to cover 70% of the national territory;

the development of natural and agricultural resources to increase the processing rate to 15% ;

the securing of our industrial base in order to increase quasi-tax revenue by 50%.

SMS: Create 11,000 enterprises

Government's objective for small and medium sized enterprises is to render them more competitive in order to conquer new segments in national and international markets. In following the Cameroon Business Forum's recommendations, the concern will be to encourage the creation of enterprises and improve the business climate in our country.

Lastly, Government will continue to promote group entrepreneurship, very small and medium sized enterprises and handicrafts. In the medium term, actions will be implemented to create 11,000 small and medium sized enterprises, upgrade 150 manufacturing SMEs, support 50 PMEs engaged in sub-contracting under major projects and encourage 40 SME business developers.

Government's medium-term trade programme aims to develop and promote external trade and regulate domestic trade. The volume of goods export will be increased from 17.5% in 2012 to 22% in 2015. The inflation of local goods on the domestic market will be kept at below 3%. The main actions will be to:

strengthen exports and diversify market outlets in order to consolidate Cameroon's presence on traditional markets and conquer new markets in order to raise the volume of total exports to external markets from 3% to 12%;

improve the efficiency of the exports system;

fight against illicit trade practices and improve the organization of marketing channels.

The medium-term objective in the lands and surveys sector will be to improve State property and land management, seeking 100% coverage of the national territory by the geodetic network. Further, the Government will provide more land to facilitate the implementation of development projects through land reserves and parcelling of State land. Thus, 812,000 hectares of land will be secured each year during the 2013-2015 period.

The Government will also protect and develop State property. This will be done through the conduct of inventories, the rehabilitation of public buildings and administrative properties, and mastery of all public property.

Between 2013 and 2015, the public service will aim to improve the management of State human resources and deepen administrative reform. This will require consolidating the mastery of State employees. Further, public service staff skills will be developed and careers better managed.

The key strategic objective of communication in the medium term is to raise the rate of coverage of the national territory by public radio and television signals to 80% against 30% currently. This will require that radio and television migrate from analogue to digital technology and that more reliable information be made available to the national and international public opinion.

In the medium term, the Government will work to endow our country with a justice system that is more accessible, more efficient, more effective and more credible. This will guarantee the legal and judicial safety of persons and property - a prerequisite for the balanced growth and development of our country.

The focus in basic education will be to extend the coverage of nursery education by building on the community experiment to benefit the rural population with the involvement of local councils. Access and retention rates in primary schools will be strengthened and the quality of education offered at this level improved. Concretely, the completion rate in the last year of the primary cycle will rise from 59% in 2011 to 66% in 2015 in priority education zones. In the same vein, the success ratio at the Certificat d'Etudes Primaires and First School Leaving Certificate compared to the number of registered candidates will rise from 64% in 2011 to 76% in 2015.

With regard to secondary education, the Government will work to ensure the universality of free education up to the First Cycle, in line with the Millennium Development Goals. The task will be to increase the supply and quality of general secondary education more oriented towards scientific streams. The development of technical and vocational secondary education will be high on Government's agenda. The actions to be implemented consist in:

- increasing enrolments in scientific disciplines from 46.84% to 48% ;

- increasing the intake capacity from 8 students per seat to 1 student per seat;

- reviewing the syllabuses of technical and vocational training;

- reducing the student per workstation ratio from 20 to 5 by 2015 ;

- strengthening the intake capacities of teachers' training schools in terms of infrastructure, equipment and staff.

During the next three years, higher education will strive to provide Cameroon with competent, competitive and diversified human capital who can contribute to innovation and the production of economic goods and services. The key concern will be to develop the technological and vocational components of higher education in order to modernize and professionalize our standard university institutions and structure university research.

In physical education and sports, the Government will work to improve the quality of supervision of physical and sports activities in order to enhance the influence and glory of Cameroonian athletes on the world stage. Sports infrastructure will be developed to enable the organization of high-level international sports competitions. The Government thus has the ambition to construct in the medium term, new multi-purpose stadiums and gymnasiums.

Social Action: Reintegration of 16,000 vulnerable persons

With regard to its social policy, the Government is planning to improve the living conditions of the populations through education on how to prevent deficiencies and social maladjustment. 16,000 socially vulnerable persons will be reintegrated socially and economically in 2015, against 11,000 in 2012. The fight against the phenomenon of street children will make it possible to remove 500 children from the streets and ultimately retrain them in 2015.

The public health programme has 4 focus areas: maternal and infant health, disease control, health promotion and the development of health districts.

The focus here will be to reduce maternal and infant mortality and contribute to significantly lower morbidity through the control of epidemic and pandemic diseases and the promotion of health. The actions to be implemented are the following:

improving vaccination coverage;

improving the availability and supply of medications, reagents and essential medical inputs;

building more local hospital facilities.

The medium-term focus in the domain of labour and social security will be to promote quality social security for all. The objective will be to cover and create more social security branches as well as improve the level and management of services provided. Government will work to extend coverage to all the other socio-economic categories not served by the current system. In the same vein, decent work will be promoted in all sectors of activity, while mainstreaming gender and protecting workers with less mobility. Thus, the percentage of the population with social security coverage will rise from 10% in 2012 to 20% in 2015.

In employment and vocational training, efforts will be made to increase the supply of decent jobs and emphasize the adequacy between training and employment while making access to upgraded vocational training easier for most people. The number of self-employment developers having received financial support from the devolved State services could rise from 1,500 in 2011 to 4,500 in 2015. Further, 120,000 persons could be integrated in the employment sector against 40,000 in 2011.

The focus in women's empowerment and the family will be the education and protection of the family to help preserve peace and social cohesion. Various forms of support and assistance will be given to poor and needy families and mediation conducted in favour of people with family and marital problems.

In the domain of culture and arts, actions to be undertaken in the medium term concern the promotion of Cameroonian art and culture, the development of literary and artistic property assets and the improvement of the productivity of cultural goods.

The Right Honourable Speaker of the National Assembly,

Honourable Members of Parliament,

At this juncture, I would like to mention some highlights of the first year of the medium-term programme that I have just presented, that is, 2013.

As you are aware, the parliamentary authorization has two components: (i) multi-year commitment authorizations and (ii) annualized payment votes. It is the second component that will enable the implementation of actions selected in various sectors for next year.

In the energy and water sector, there are plans to continue: (i) the works to complete the construction of hydro-electricity dams and power plants; (ii) the rural electrification programmes; (iii) the finalization of studies on the Nachtigal hydro-electricity development project; (iv) urban and rural drinking water supply schemes; (v) construction works of storage depots for petroleum products in Yaounde and Douala.

With regard to road infrastructure, payment votes for 2013 will mainly serve to implement road construction and maintenance programmes and continue works already in progress. These include:

- the complete tarring of the Douala-Ndjamena corridor;

- the rehabilitation of urban roads in large cities and secondary towns;

- the rehabilitation of tarred and earth roads as well as those in rural, agro-pastoral and border areas;

- the tightening of geo-technical supervision of road services in terms of civil engineering control and meticulous inspection of engineering structures.

The programme to build 10,000 low-cost houses will be extended to several secondary towns, especially to regional headquarters, university towns and industrial towns where demand is high.

In the post and telecommunication sector, Government hopes to achieve the following: open the mobile telephony market to other operators, continue installing fibre optics and improve postal services.

In agriculture, the following actions will be implemented in 2013:

- revitalization of export crops such as cocoa, coffee, cotton, pineapple and rubber;

- development of promising sub-sectors that generate growth and jobs such as plantain, millet, sorghum, maize, roots and tubers and oil palm;

- improvement of socio-economic infrastructure and financing of the agricultural sector;

- revival of the Cameroon cooperative movement;

- preparation of soil aptitude maps and development of agricultural land.

With regard to livestock and fisheries, the objective in 2013 will be to increase animal production by 25%, and diversify and promote fish-farming as well as bee-farming. Government will work to reduce the prevalence of animal diseases and align veterinary services to international standards.

In 2013, Government's priorities in the forestry and wildlife sector will be to:

- secure the Bouba Ndjidda National Park;

- promote timber species and market Cameroonian timber locally and abroad;

- implement the national anti-corruption strategy in the timber sector;

- implement the Voluntary Partnership Agreement on forest law enforcement, governance and trade in timber and by-products, signed with the European Union.

With regard to the promotion of small and medium sized enterprises and handicrafts, the Government will place emphasis in 2013 on the implementation of a number of programmes that are likely to impact growth and job creation. These programmes seek to:

improve the competitiveness of small and medium sized enterprises;

encourage private initiative;

improve the business climate;

promote collective entrepreneurship;

generate higher returns from handicrafts and very small enterprises; and

improve the working and living conditions of workers.

Our priorities in the tourism and leisure sector will be to:

- develop ecotourism in protected areas;

- continue the development of a number of tourist sites, especially the Ebogo site, Lake Awing, the Mbe Cliff, the Kola Gorges, Lake Oku, Mount Djoumbal in Banyo, the Benoue banks, the Lobe Falls at Kribi, Mount Atlantica, the Hippopotamus Ponds of Lala in Kete Council, Lake Pangnere, the Slave route and the Ekom-kam Falls for a total cost of 625 million CFA Francs;

- develop hotel infrastructure, especially the Kaele and Meyomessala touristic centres and Ebolowa Agric Show Hotel for a total cost of 2 billion 125 million CFA Francs;

- commission studies for the construction and development of leisure facilities in Garoua, Yaounde, Douala, Sangmelima and Buea for 250 million CFA Francs; and

- accelerate the construction of offices for the Regional Delegations of Tourism and Leisure for the West, South, North-West and North and the Divisional Delegations of Mayo Louti, Mayo Rey, Mayo Banyo, Mbam and Inoubou, Mayo Tsanaga, Bamboutos, Nyong and Mfoumou and Sanaga Maritime Divisions for a total cost of 335 million CFA Francs.

During next year, with regard to land and surveys, Government undertakes to: (1) stamp all built-on real property of the State; (2) rehabilitate public buildings such as the Ministerial buildings No. 2 and 3 that house many ministries and the Central Administrative Garage, and (3) improve land management and make it the foundation for the development of Cameroon.

Like in the past, Government departments will continue to provide users and business operators with various services necessary for the proper functioning of society and the development of business.

Thus, actions concerning the Public Service in 2013 will relate to:

- the permanent update of map of workstations;

- the planning and scheduling of the State's human resource needs;

- the physical control of the State's staff strength;

- the continuation of administrative reform by reviewing the legal framework governing the management of careers;

- the completion of the computerization of incremental positions.

Basic education: Construction of 1,800 classrooms

In the domain of justice, the Government will continue efforts to consolidate the rule of law, enhance the criminal and penitentiary policy, and support the fight against corruption and embezzlement of public funds. Construction works of courts of appeal, courts of first instance and new prisons will start next financial year.

With regard to political governance, the Government undertakes to support ELECAM to guarantee fairness and transparency in future elections.

With regard to women's empowerment and the family, the public authorities will continue supervising vulnerable families and promoting gender equality and equity in Cameroon.

In the labour and social security sector, the following actions will be implemented during 2013:

- finalization and approval of the new national labour policy;

- operationalization of the Pilot Centre for Health and Safety at the Workplace in Yaounde;

- construction of a pilot Information and Training Centre for employers' and workers' professional organizations in Yaounde.

With regard to basic education, the actions to be implemented are the following:

- continuation of the policy of literacy, non-formal education and promotion of national languages to achieve the goal of 100,000 people taught literacy in 2013 ;

- construction of 1,800 new classrooms;

- promotion of education-sector governance and consolidation of the school statistical information system.

In 2013, actions in secondary education will focus on:

- the development of teacher training;

- the finalization of the reform of Grade I Teachers' Training Colleges in order to further professionalize these schools;

- the development of technical and vocational training.

Higher education will continue to be revitalized in 2013 through:

- the strengthening of the human medical stream, with the training of 460 staff per year;

- the increase of the percentage of women in higher education by 25%;

- the development of poles of excellence and forging of partnerships;

- the widespread use of the Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) in academic and research activities;

- the development of university student welfare;

- the continued maturation of the Bachelors, Masters, Doctorate (BMD) system in faculties;

- the pursuit of university dialogue and solidarity.

With regard to employment and vocational training, Government's action in 2013 will consist in:

- continuing to promote and implement the employment strategy outlined in the Growth and Employment Strategy Paper (GESP);

- increasing the employability of the work force to match the needs of the national production system;

- preparing a law on vocational and technical training;

The key achievements in culture and arts will be:

- the safeguard and protection of the cultural and artistic heritage;

- the restoration and dematerialization of the archives of the country;

- the operationalization of the National Institute of Arts and Culture.

The Right Honourable Speaker of the National Assembly,

Honourable Members of Parliament,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

The implementation of this extensive programme will be supported by the Finance Law for fiscal year 2013 which was prepared using the a budgetary framework based on the following assumptions:

- a real Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth rate of 6.1%;

- oil production estimated at 28.8 million barrels;

- an inflation rate of about 2.1%;

- a projected per-barrel price of oil estimated at US$ 96.6;

- a dollar parity rate estimated at 530.1 CFA Francs;

The Government will make a special effort in 2013 to increase non-oil internal revenue, placing special emphasis on customs and tax revenues. The tax break observed for a number of years now will remain in place.

Commitment authorizations concern projects scheduled for the next three years. While some of these projects will be completed in 2013, others will only be completed in 2014 or 2015. For the first time, the law assigns to each Government department: programmes, objectives to be attained and indicators for measuring these objectives at the end of the period. The total amount of commitment authorizations stands at 3,733 billion 650 million CFA Francs

The State's budget estimates for the 2013 financial year stand at 3,236 billion CFA Francs against 2,800 billion CFA Francs for fiscal year 2012. This represents an increase of 436 billion CFA Francs in absolute terms and 15.6% in relative terms.

Total revenue expected in fiscal year 2013 stands at 3,236 billion CFA Francs and will come from:

- oil royalties: 705 billion CFA Francs;

- tax revenue: 1,214 billion CFA Francs ;

- customs revenue: 638 billion CFA Francs;

- non-oil revenue: 105 billion CFA Francs ;

- issue of Government securities: 250 billion CFA Francs;

- borrowings and grants: 324 billion CFA Francs.

A few amendments were made to our tax legislation. These include:

the broadening of the tax base by: (ii) reducing by half the deductible quota from headquarter overheads from 15% to 7.5% for consulting firms, from 5% to 2.5% for construction companies and from 10% to 5%, for the other enterprises; and (ii) extending the global rate of excise duty (25%) on carbonated drinks to create tax fairness between natural fruit juice and these drinks;

the protection of revenue by not levying VAT on cash transactions above one million and limiting exporters' refundable VAT to the amount of VAT on exports actually made;

the taking into account of the effective commissioning of administrative courts in tax dispute proceedings.

Proposed amendments of the customs regulations relate to:

the promotion of exports and facilitation of disputes procedures at customs;

the suppression of the factory-entry tax applicable to milled and semi-milled timber and its replacement with an export duty on locally processed timber.

the rationalization of stamp duty;

no export tax levied on cash crops meant for export;

no taxes levied on products manufactured in Cameroon in order to encourage the local industry;

the rationalization of customs disputes procedures.

The Right Honourable Speaker of the National Assembly,

Honourable Members of Parliament,

Such is Government's Economic, Financial, Cultural and Social Programme for fiscal year 2013 towards the realization of which Government is soliciting the support of the esteemed National Assembly.

After the presentation of the broad lines of this Programme, I would like to also urge all Cameroonians to take an active part in the implementation of the programme of "Major Accomplishments".

This cannot be the affair of the public authorities alone. In fact, each and every one of us must contribute his or her quota to the construction of sustainable economic growth.

Thank you for your kind attention.

NB: Subheads have been put by Cameroon Tribune

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