4 December 2012

Cameroon: Public Contracts Commitments Period Extended

Public contracts that were not awarded before the traditional November 30 deadline for the end of all engagements now have another opportunity to be executed still with the budget of the ongoing fiscal year. A Presidential decree signed November 30 extends engagements up to December 31, 2012 while payment authorisations will end on February 28, 2013.

According to Section 50 of the December 26, 2007 law on the fiscal regime of the State, commitments on the State budget for a budgetary year shall end no later than November 30 while payment authorisations shall end on December 31 of the same year. But another disposition makes provision for a complementary period to round off treasury operations by February 28.

Reasons Behind the Ordinance

According to Ntsek Serge Dieudonné, Head of Division for Budgetary Control in the Ministry of Finance, 2012 had its peculiarity. The new Ministry of Public Contracts (MINMAP) created during the December 9, 2011 reorganisation of government effectively took off late. Given that it had the exclusive rights to give out contracts of from FCFA 50 million, the process of awarding public contracts was delayed given that the ministry's functional organigramme and the appointment of officials as well as the putting in place of other reforms had to be done for it to function optimally. "The late putting in place of all of these led to the weak consumption of the investment package. When we know that it is the investment budget that enriches the country, we can understand that the Head of State had every reason to extend the commitments and payment authorisations," Ntsek said.

Its Implications, Consequences

Ntsek Serge Dieudonné said by the Presidential decree, commitments on public investments that were not taken up to November 30 will go right up to December 31. "Authorisation officers shall continue to pass commitments on public investment budget right up to December 31, 2012. Payment authorisations will also continue up to February 28, 2013. The complementary period that would have ended by February ending will now be pushed to March ending," he said. The law authorises the Minister of Finances to ensure an optimal execution of the finance law. "In a context like this, measures are envisaged to better guide the effective implementation of this Presidential ordinance," he said.

The first consequence according to the Head of Division for Budgetary Control in the Ministry of Finance will be two budgets that will be operational at the same time. Given that the ongoing budget will extend to 2013 and the new one is expected to be effective from January 1, 2013. It may have effects on the treasury and so there will be need for it to prepare to live up to the challenge.

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