Cameroon Tribune (Yaoundé)

11 December 2012

Cameroon: « Improve Living Conditions of Cameroonians » - Interview of Alamine Ousmane Mey

interview

FCFA 3, 236 billion has just been adopted as State budget for 2013. Is this figure really feasible in terms of revenue that we will get and spend in the different programmes?

I am a positive thinker. So whatever we said is based on realistic evaluation and I believe that Cameroonians are capable of making this figure a reality. FCFA 3,236 billion which is approximately 426 billion in terms of absolute value for the increase of our budget. We do think that the fundamentals are there to make sure that our productive capacity will permit us to raise sufficient revenue in terms of fiscal collection. I do believe that in recent years, investment was made heavily in infrastructure, energy, building port facilities which means creating the best environment for investment and developing business environment. Now that we are far enough, we do believe that business people will find the necessary incentive to increase their production and create new activities. This will enables the State to collect revenue and help us finance our expenditure. This is what we are going to do and we do believe that a 6.1 per cent economic growth is feasible. Cameroon is a strong, rich and dynamic country with high quality natural resources and we do believe that we have the human resources which is able to make us realise this dream.

What will trickle down to the poor from this budget that sounds big?

The main objective of our policy is to improve the living conditions of the population. This is one of the key elements that guides the policy of the Head of State. He is aiming at making our country an emerging one by 2035. This simply means that our population has to see changes in their living conditions. They should see that their baskets when the go to the market are really filled with the goods they went for. We do think that this will also go through creating jobs. We have an under-employment rate which is high and we do have very good human resources which really need to have good jobs. This is what we are working to achieve. We think that FCFA 3,236 billion in terms of budget will definitely improve the living conditions of Cameroonians through the 156 programmes. We have indicators that will permit us see how we are progressing towards these goals.

Do you think that projects have been equitably distributed throughout the country?

I do not think so. Spending will take place all over the country depending on the priorities which have been set. When we talk about budget, it is about allocating scare resources and these will be channeled to the best appropriate projects for our economy and development. This is where priority will be. Emphasis will be on investment. We have progressed from about roughly 20 per cent to 30 per cent which represents the investment budget and is a clear signal that we are looking for a kind of expenditure that will create wealth and permit our economy to benefit from most infrastructure. This infrastructure in return will help business people to take advantage of our potentials. We have big neighbours around us who are a good market for us. So, why don't we move fast in terms of improving our agriculture, our tertiary services so that these surrounding countries benefit from our production?"

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