Cameroon Tribune (Yaoundé)

18 January 2013

Cameroon: National Road Board Meets

Following the 13th session of the National Road Board that met in Yaounde on Thursday, January 17, 2013, the Secretary General in the Prime Minister's Office issued this press release.

The Prime Minister, Head of Government, Mr. Philemon YANG, Chairman of the National Road Board on Thursday, 17 January 2013 as from 11:00 a.m. chaired the 13th session of the Board in the main building of the Prime Minister's Office.

Apart from his close aides, the statutory members of the Board and some invited personalities were in attendance.

The session was devoted mainly to assessing the state of implementation of instructions given at previous sessions of the National Road Board.

In his opening statement, the Chairman of the Board recalled the challenges of developing road infrastructure and underscored the need to provide appropriate solutions.

With regard to assessing the state of implementation of instructions given at previous sessions, the Board applauded their globally satisfactory level of implementation despite some delays reported in that regard. Progress achieved was seen, among others, at the institutional level with: (i) the signing of several agreements between road project supervisory authorities and a number of institutional public actors such as LABOGENIE, MATGENIE and MAETUR for the conduct of related geotechnical studies and to create synergy; (ii) the finalization of the process of categorizing construction SMEs; and (iii) the comprehensive inventory of arrears of compensation money owed as part of expropriations for public utility. The Board also noted the working platform put in place among the relevant sector stakeholders to fight urban disorder and specific measures taken to ease urban traffic.

With regard to achievements made in the construction, rehabilitation and maintenance of road infrastructure, these include especially the acceptance of rehabilitation works of the Nsam-Obobogo-Nkolguie junction road stretch; the renewal of equipment of 17 road weighing stations; the signing with EXIM BANK China of a funding agreement for the construction of the first section of the Yaounde-Douala motorway; the production of the progress report on the construction project of the Yaounde-Nsimalen motorway and an update of projects to construct by-pass roads in some metropolises, especially the East and West thruways of Yaounde and Douala. Further, the Board took cognizance of measures already taken or being contemplated for the adoption of a Government strategy for maintaining and developing access roads to tourist sites, key production zones and sites of major hydro-power and mining projects. Also noted was the implementation (under Sino-Cameroon cooperation) of the programme to procure civil engineering equipment for MATGENIE and some public and semi-public enterprises.

The Board also noted with satisfaction the road safety operations conducted by the Ministry of Transport in association with the Secretariat of State for Defence in charge of the Gendarmerie and the General Delegation for National Security. These helped not only to reduce by 24% the number of fatalities and by 30% the number of accidents on public roads but to also ease traffic congestion in urban centres. Similarly, over 41,932 road offences were observed, which generated CFAF 506,137,100 in revenue for the State treasury.

In the same vein, the members of the Road Board applauded the overtures made by the Ministry in charge of the economy to a number of international donors to prospect for and mobilize additional financing for the development of the national road network. These culminated in the signing of about 18 funding agreements for an evaluated amount of CFAF 673.493 billion. For its part, the Road Fund and its Authorizing Officers have considerably improved the rate of revenue collection and use of allotted resources under the Maintenance and Investment Facilities.

The Board took cognizance of the report presented by the Secretary-General of the Prime Minister's Office on the implementation of previous instructions to finalize the draft decree laying down modalities for the management and protection of public land and the draft order relating to the palletizing of cooking gas cylinders in Cameroon to facilitate their safe transportation. The related standards are being prepared by the National Quality and Standards Agency.

In another respect, the Board expressed satisfaction with the conclusions of the Permanent Secretary's work report concerning the establishment of a road database which revealed that:

- urban roads total a linear distance of 12,878.23 km (about 20% is tarred and 80% is earth-roads);

- the inter-urban priority network has 18,192.69 km of roads (about 30% is tarred and 70% is earth-roads);

- the national forestry sector network is 2,936 km long and its network outside FMUs is 4,071 km long;

- needs for opening access roads to key production areas are estimated at 15,146 km.

Besides, the Board highlighted the need to conduct a study on the demarcation of public communal land so as to better manage advertising proceeds on the right-of-way of national roads and studies on the tarring of the regional Foumban-Koupa Matapit- Jakiri road to make the West Corridor: Douala- Bafoussam- Foumban-Banyo-Ngaoundere, viable. The Chairman of the Road Board gave instructions after the presentations and ensuing discussions.

- He asked the Minister for Public Works to liaise with the Minister for the Economy, Planning and Regional Development, in anticipating measures to be taken for the construction of access roads to key mining and energy sites and to take necessary measures to rehabilitate the Benoue bridge in Garoua and/or build a second bridge;

- The Minister of Housing and Urban Development was asked to liaise with Government Delegates and the competent administrative authorities to put an end to the urban disorder that is rife in some towns, especially Douala; and, in conjunction with the Minister in charge of the economy, to submit proposals for tarring roads in at least four divisional headquarters that have not been untarred. Besides, he should before end-January 2013 liaise with the Minister for Public Contracts to expedite the launching of tenders for the construction of the Yaounde-Nsimalen motorway;

- The Minister for Territorial Administration and Decentralization was instructed to liaise with the Minister for State Property, Surveys and Land Tenure in ensuring that people free up the right-of-way of certain road projects, notably Boulevard de la République in Douala ;

- The Minister for State Property, Surveys and Land Tenure was asked to liaise with the Ministers for the Economy, Planning and Regional Development and Finance to clinch the financing of the study on public road land.

- The Minister for the Economy, Planning and Regional Development was asked to liaise with relevant Government departments and submit proposals for mobilizing innovative financing for the construction of access roads to key production zones, tourist sites, industrial zones, protected areas and land reserves;

- The Minister-Delegate at the Presidency in charge of Public Contracts was asked to (i) expedite procurement procedures for overarching road projects identified by the Head of State; (ii) systematize monitoring and inspection missions to ensure the good performance of contracts for the construction of roads and engineering structures nationwide and (iii) complete the revision of the Public Contracts Code;

- The General Manager of the Industrial Zones Development and Management Authority was asked to liaise with the Minister of the Economy, Planning and Regional Development, and submit proposals for the construction and rehabilitation of access roads to industrial zones.

Lastly, all contracting authorities and delegated contracting authorities were asked to forward to the Permanent Secretariat their 2013 programmes along with the execution reports of their 2012 programmes, for consideration during the next session.

The Board adjourned after considering a number of matters related to roads.

The meeting ended at 2:30p.m./-

Yaounde,

MOTAZE Louis Paul,

Secretary-General of the

Prime Minister's Office

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