30 November 2017

Cameroon: State Budget for 2018 - Priority to Completion of Infrastructure for AFCON 2019

Following is government's economic, financial, social and cultural programme for the 2018 financial year presented by Prime Minister, Head of Government Philemon Yang at the National Assembly on November 29, 2017.

"The Right Honourable Speaker of the National Assembly, Honourable Members of the Bureau of the National Assembly, Honourable Members of Parliament, Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen,

It is an honour for me to take the floor before this August House to present the Economic, Financial, Social and Cultural Programme, prepared by the Government under the authority of the President of the Republic, His Excellency Paul BIYA, for the 2018 financial year.

I thank the Right Honourable Speaker of the National Assembly for the kind words he said to me and the entire Government.

Honourable Members of Parliament,

Government's Economic, Financial, Social and Cultural Programme for the 2018 financial year comes at a time when we are entering the last year of the 2016-2018 three-year period.

Before charting the prospects that underpin Government action in the 2018 financial year, I will first present to you an overview of the main activities that Government conducted in 2017 that is ending.

The Right Honourable Speaker of the National Assembly, Honourable Members of Parliament,

In 2017 particularly, Government took on several challenges. These had to do with: the continued implementation of the Three-Year Emergency Plan for Accelerating Economic Growth; the launching of the Special Three-Year Youth Plan; the intensification of construction works of various sports and related infrastructure, ahead of the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations; the continuation of major infrastructure projects underway.

During the year that is ending, our country was outstanding on the continental scene in sports where we shone admirably, winning major trophies like the last Football Cup of Nations organized in Gabon and recently still, the Women's African Volleyball Championship.

Furthermore, Government maintained the momentum given by the President of the Republic in terms of aligning Cameroon to the digital economy.

At the budgetary level, the level of implementation of the State budget indicates that on 30 September 2017, resource mobilization was up to CFAF 2 thousand billion 930 million 900 thousand, or 67% of the expected target.

Expenditure implementation, based on payment authorizations, stands at 3 billion 82 million 200 thousand CFAF francs, equivalent to a global rate of 70.47%. Recurrent expenses stand at 1 billion 543 million 700 thousand CFAF francs, while capital expenditure stands at 1 billion 46 million 600 thousand CFA francs. For its part, debt servicing took up 491 billion 900 million CFA francs, making a rate of 67.6%.

As you are aware, in 2017, a three-year Economic and Financial Programme for the 2017-2019 period, backed by an Extended Credit Facility, was concluded with the International Monetary Fund totaling about 400 billion CFA francs.

This reform programme seeks to restore the stability and fiscal and external sustainability of our economy, while improving its competitiveness.

Cooperation between the Government and various development partners allowed for the mobilization of significant financing for the following landmark projects:

the project to upgrade the electricity transmission network of SONATREL, for an amount of 190 billion 949 million CFA francs, the transport sector development project for an amount of 113 billion 86 million CFA francs; the project to construct the electricity transmission infrastructure of the Memve'ele hydropower dam, for an amount of 87 billion 619 million CFA francs; the project to construct 225-kilovolt electric lines between Nkongsamba-Bafoussam and Yaoundé-Abong-Mbang, for a total cost of 56 billion 773 million CFA francs; the financing project of the Technical Cooperation Facility - 11th European Development Fund, for an amount of 412 billion 74 million CFA francs; The drinking water supply project in the towns of Meyomessala, Nkongsamba and Melong, for an amount of 37 billion 734 million CFA francs; the livestock development project for an amount of 58 billion 81 million CFA francs; the transport sector support programme, Phase II, for the rehabilitation of the national road No. 4: Yaoundé-Bafoussam and Babadjou-Bamenda road and development of the Grand Zambi-Kribi and Maroua-Bogo-Pouss roads, for a global cost of 187 billion 806 million CFA francs; the reconstruction of the Babadjou-Bamenda section of road on the national road No. 6, on 52 linear kilometers to the tune of 39 billion 300 million CFA francs to name but a few.

Other specific actions undertaken have to do with the planning of regional and local development, preparations for the 4th General Population and Housing Census, and the harnessing and development of the potentials of the territory and border areas.

These include the construction of border markets at Fotokol, Garoua-Boulaï and Ekok, as well as facilities for the storage and packaging of agricultural produce at Foumbot, Mbouda, Mvangane and Kye-Ossi.

Thanks to Government's efforts in public procurements, 2 thousand and 49 contracts were awarded, corresponding to over 99% of the set objective.

In the fight against embezzlement of public funds, the year 2017 was marked by the intensification and diversification of audits and the systematization of punishments meted out against dishonest managers.

The regular holding of sessions of the Budget and Financial Disciplinary Board (CDBF), culminated in decisions debiting guilty persons of the sum of 7 billion 425 million 627 thousand 532 CFA francs to be paid into the Public Treasury. In the area of territorial and local governance, Government pursued the dynamic delivery of decentralization, ensuring that powers and resources are transferred to councils.

As far as territorial administration is concerned, we strove to strengthen State authority through measures aimed at improving the working conditions of administrative authorities and traditional rulers.

Thus, 6 office and residential buildings for administrative authorities were constructed. Construction works of 11 sub-divisional offices, 9 residences of sub-divisional officers and 3 residences of senior divisional officers have started.

With regard to civil status registry, the National Civil Status Agency has been effectively commissioned and granted a subsidy of 250 million CFA francs.

The process of payment of traditional rulers' allocations continued, with the study of about 10 thousand files, representing a financial effort of 6 billion CFA francs per year.

We also pursued the policy to sanitize some sensitive sectors of activities, such as private security, games of chance and entertainment. In the area of decentralization, 63 powers have already been transferred to councils, along with financial resources totaling 51 billion 58 million 652 thousand CFA francs. In addition to these financial resources, the State also allocated to councils an envelope of 10 billion CFA francs under the General Decentralization Allocation.

Under local governance, one thousand and seventeen municipal councilors, or 98% of them, have been paid to the tune of 1 billion 704 million 734 thousand 684 CFA francs.

The public authorities' interventions in the area of civil protection had to do with establishing mechanisms and facilities for the voluntary and gradual return of Nigerian refugees in Cameroon, whose number is estimated at over 90 thousand in the Far-North Region alone.

Government action in the area of Justice, enabled the absorption of 161 pupil magistrates into the Magistracy, the recruitment of 305 prisons administration personnel, the computerization of the justice system, through implementation of the computer master plan and ongoing networking of courts in regional headquarters.

In the same vein, Government designed a bilingual procedures guide for change of name and naturalization. Construction works of a modern judicial services complex in Yaoundé and the courtrooms of Mbalmayo, Mbouda and Nanga Eboko were continued.

In terms of punishing corruption, thanks to the strong action of the law courts, the Public Treasury recovered 4 billion 3 million 589 thousand 291 CFA francs, a net increase over statistics recorded last year.

Penitentiary policy was not neglected. This was seen in the start of construction works of the Douala-Ngoma Central Prison, the repair of the damaged roof of the Kribi Prison, the equipment of the Yaoundé Central Prison infirmary, the training of 547 inmates of prisons of Edea, Bafoussam, Ebolowa, Douala, Bamenda, Mokolo and Mfou in small trades and the creation of a poultry farm in Monatele Prison.

Apart from these actions, Government also carried out other specific activities on instructions of the President of the Republic. These aimed inter alia at strengthening the capacity of Anglophone judicial personnel and reforming training programmes of the Judicial Division of the National School of Administration and Magistracy, through the creation of a Common Law Section.

The Right Honourable Speaker of the National Assembly, Honourable Members of Parliament,

I would like now to assess the implementation of the Three-Year Emergency Plan for Accelerating Economic Growth (PLANUT) decided by the Head of State, whose implementation started in 2015.

As you are aware, this Plan hinges on the following major focus areas: agriculture and livestock; urban development; housing; water and energy; health; roads; territorial development; and security.

Regarding the livestock component, we can express satisfaction with the timely completion of the following projects whose structures are already available and await final acceptance: the construction of a modern slaughter-house at Ngaoundéré and refrigerated warehouses in Yaoundé, Kribi and Ebolowa; and the procurement of refrigerated vehicles and trucks for transporting meat products.

Additionally, construction works have started on stockbreeding infrastructure in the beef production agropoles of Banyo and Meiganga.

In agriculture, nine contracts worth a total of 264 million 374 thousand 518 CFA francs, were signed for the conduct of studies for the construction of agropoles to produce the following enterprises: Rosella of Figuil in the North Region; Irish potato of Santa in the North-West Region; Cocoa of Bokito in the Centre Region; Arabica coffee of Bamenda in the North-West Region; Robusta coffee of Angossas in the East Region; Irish potato of Lebialem in the South-West Region Cocoa of Meyomessala in the South Region; Robusta coffee of Melong in the Littoral Region; Palm oil of Kumba in the South-West Region. Contracts for the supply of inputs to the Nyamboya maize production "agropolis" in the Adamawa Region have already been awarded and the procurement process of related agricultural equipment is ongoing. Furthermore, contracting procedures are underway to support some agro-industries, including SODECOTON, SEMRY, UNVDA of Ndop, PAMOL, the Cereals Development Authority and CDC, as well as the production and distribution of seeds. In the same vein, the process of securing sites for the construction of supply markets is far advanced in the localities of Gasawa in the Far-North Region and Ngong in the North Region. The same is also being actively pursued in Dibombari, Littoral Region, Obala in Centre Region, Foumbot in the West Region and Mamfe in the South-West Region.

With regard to urban development, rehabilitation works on some secondary roads in Yaoundé have been completed in the following neighbourhoods: Bieym-Assi, Mvog-Mbi, Mvog Atangana-Mballa and Simbock.

In Douala, road rehabilitation works were conducted in the following neighbourhoods: Youpwé, Sodiko, Bonabéri, Bépanda, Camp Yabassi and Mbangué. Eight other contracts have been signed for the start of Phase Two works, covering a linear distance of about 23 kilometres, for a total cost of 38 billion 499 million 503 thousand 984 CFA francs.

Under the housing component, the programme to construct 800 low-cost houses is being implemented. Progress is as follows: Ebolowa : 74% Bertoua : 25% Buea : 20% Bafoussam : 20% Ngaoundéré: 30% Garoua : 27% Maroua : 25% Bamenda : 6,1%

Under the road component, construction works of the first five accessibility roads have started on the following section of the firm tranche:

MAROUA - BOGO, 45 kilometres; SOA - ESSE - AWAE, 72 kilometres; KUMBA - EKONDO TITI, on 60 kilometres; DOUALA - BONEPOUPA and BONEPOUPA-YABASSI, 95 kilometres; MANDJOU-AKOKA and AKOKAN-BATOURI, 90 kilometres.

Of the five other roads of the firm tranche, the related final design studies are in the process of validation.

In the water sector, construction works of 900 boreholes in nine regions are 83% done, making 640 already functional boreholes. Those of 19 very small drinking water schemes in the North-West Region are 100% done.

As for the second phase concerning the construction of 3,000 additional boreholes in the northern Regions, works are at the start-up stage.

Regarding the energy component, the development phase of the Bini à Warack hydropower project is well underway. Indeed, deliberations of the Commission for Identification and Assessment of Affected Properties as well as the design of various resettlement action plans are being finalized.

Besides, studies on the construction of the electricity transmission line between Edéa-Logbessou-Bekoko via Douala are complete. In Health, works are ongoing to rehabilitate the infrastructure and upgrade the technical equipment of the Yaoundé and Douala Referral Hospitals and the Yaoundé University Teaching Hospital. Furthermore, the construction of 8 Reference hospital centres is making progress on all selected sites.

Under the territorial development component, 77 thousand 301 hectares of irrigated areas, or about 64% of the 120 thousand envisaged, were identified and distributed as follows:

12 thousand 346 hectares being implemented in the Far-North Region; 48 thousand 518 hectares being contractualized, that is, 48 thousand 107 hectares in the Adamawa Region and 411 hectares in the Far-North Region; 16 thousand 437 hectares including engineering studies already available, or 9 thousand 237 hectares in the North Region and 7 thousand 200 hectares in the Far-North Region. At the security level, Government implemented several noteworthy actions in 2017. This was seen in a number of active and pre-emptive measures taken to preserve our country's territorial integrity and consolidate social peace. Specifically, these are: the contribution to the maintenance and restoration of peace in the restive Regions by deploying several contingents of policemen; the tightening of security at some border points in the northern part of the country; and the rehabilitation and/or construction of new Police units and host structures. Furthermore, the construction of gendarmerie posts in Sodikombo-Douala and Abang-Minko'o is completed. Similarly, the implementation rate of those in NKOLKONDI-Yaoundé, EBOM-Yaoundé, MANGUIERS-Yaoundé, MINKOAMEYOS-Yaoundé, Mombore and Gashiga in the North and Koza in the Far-North Region ranges between 80% and 96%.

The Right Honourable Speaker of the National Assembly, Honourable Members of Parliament,

Preparations are on track for the upcoming Football African Cup of Nations, the organization of which is both a challenge and genuine reason for pride for Cameroon.

The selected contractors are confident and reassuring about meeting the contractual deadlines for completion of works.

On this subject, I have instructed the Government departments and stakeholders concerned to accelerate the pace of works and strictly comply with the contract specifications and implementation schedules.

The Right Honourable Speaker of the National Assembly, Honourable Members of Parliament,

The year 2017 also witnessed significant Government activity in the implementation of other public sector policies.

Regarding Water and Energy, remarkable progress was recorded in supply and access to public services.

Regarding Energy, meaningful outcomes were recorded with improved energy supply through the completion of some major infrastructure projects.

Similarly, Government has started the development of other huge "second generation" energy projects, amongst which are the following dams: Nachtigal in the Centre Region, for which a concession agreement was signed on 20 April 2017, with the start of works scheduled for early 2018 ; Menchum in the North-West Region, whose studies are under validation; Song Dong in the Littoral Region, for which a development agreement is being negotiated; Makay in the Centre Region, whose term sheet was signed on 13 April 2017; Chollet in the East Region, jointly constructed with Congo.

Concerning the Water sector, public authorities have started drafting the national water policy paper. Furthermore, the implementation of the project to supply Yaoundé with drinking water from the Sanaga River has started. Access to drinking water has also been improved thanks to the on-going construction of 143 manually-operated boreholes, 58 water points in various councils and even in cases of emergency.

The start of the drinking water supply project in the towns of Meyomessala, Nkongsamba, Melong, Kekem and Bare shall increase daily production capacity to 20,000 cubic metres.

This also applies to the construction of: 5 new water catchments with a capacity of 8 thousand cubic metres; 10 new water treatment plants with a production capacity of 30 thousand cubic metres per day; 15 water storage tanks with total capacity of 10 thousand cubic metres; 109 public taps and 35 fire hydrants.

Furthermore, Government has constructed 37 thousand linear metres of pipe networks, 40 thousand 885 linear metres of distribution networks, and 11,000 social connections.

Similarly, projects undertaken by CAMWATER enabled the rehabilitation and construction of storage tanks with a capacity of 24 thousand 750 cubic metres and 3 thousand cubic metres respectively. Also, the drinking water supply network was reinforced by about 81 kilometres and extensions increased by 267 kilometres.

Also, significant efforts were made in sanitation with the construction of 327 public toilets, 590 private toilets, 5,000 improved family latrines and 1,200 institutional latrines in the densely populated areas of the East, Adamawa and Far-North Regions. In addition, 1,400 family latrines and 1,800 institutional latrines were constructed in Douala. In the Public Works sector, remarkable outcomes were recorded as far as maintenance and construction of new infrastructure is concerned. For example, the following were achieved:

the first phase of the Yaoundé-Douala motorway construction works is 48% complete. Feasibility studies of the second phase of the project are complete and concern the Bibodi-Edea stretch, which goes from PK60 to PK141, and the Edea-Douala stretch which extends from PK141 to PK196; the construction of the Edea-Kribi-Lolabe motorway, whose first phase, from Kribi to Lolabe, is 70% complete; the completion of rehabilitation works on the Ngaoundéré-Garoua stretch of road; the start of rehabilitation works on the national road No. 2, that is, Yaoundé-Mbalmayo-Ebolowa-Ambam; the construction of railway viaducts on the second bridge over the Wouri River is completed. Regarding access ways, they are nearing completion; works to develop the East entry side of Douala are complete while those of the West entry side are 86% complete; the rehabilitation of the Yaoundé-Ndoupe stretch of road which is 106 Kilometres long, and Bekoko-Idenau, 93 kilometre linear distance on the national road No. 3: Yaoundé-Douala-Limbe-Idenau; the start of reconstruction works of the Babadjou-Bamenda road section; the construction of the Kumba-Mamfe road, with the Kumba-Kumbe and Bakundu-Nfaitock sections completed, while the Nfaitock-Mamfe section is 77% complete; the construction of the Sangmelima-Ouesso road, with the Sangmelima-Bikoula section 60% complete; the construction of the Mengong-Sangmelima road which is 34% complete.

With regard to Transport, Government realized the following: the development and rehabilitation of transport infrastructure, especially the Kribi maritime area; the improvement of transport services and facilities; the provision of one billion CFA francs as State counterpart funds for the rehabilitation of the Batschenga-Ka'a stretch of railway; the conduct of a study to open level crossings on the national rail network; the rehabilitation of the Batouri weather station; the digitizing of meteorological archives and installation of weather stations; the modernization of urban transport in Yaoundé, thanks to a Public-Private Partnership with the Yaoundé City Council.

In the area of Scientific Research and Innovation, Government achieved the following results:

the organization of an important international conference on science, technology, engineering, and mathematics attended by about fifteen countries; the strengthening of research by modernizing the production apparatus, and developing nine new technological packages of improved crop and livestock characteristics; data collection for the production of 48 new topographic and thematic maps on a surface area of 6 thousand square kilometres covering divisions in the North-West, West, South-West, Far-North and North regions; monitoring of Lakes Nyos and Monoum, and the national seismographic network near Mount Cameroon; conduct of studies to improve human health by developing improved traditional medicines, and understanding the degree of exposure of Cameroonians to ionizing radiation.

Regarding Industry, Mines and Technological Development, Government action focused mainly on enhancing the value of mining and geological resources, diversifying and improving the competitiveness of industrial sectors, and ensuring the use of inventions, technological innovations and industrial property assets. Regarding the Environment, Government action focused mainly on the restoration of nature, combating climate change, sustainable management of biodiversity, combating pollution and harmful chemical substances, as well as various forms of institutional support.

The Right Honourable Speaker of the National Assembly, Honourable Members of Parliament,

Government also focused on the development and promotion of agro-pastoral and agro-industrial activities.

In Agriculture, our efforts were on the provision of seeds, improved plants, manure and pesticides to farmers, and realizing many large-scale projects, and leading specific actions for the youth.

Regarding the Public Service and Administrative Reform, the noteworthy actions carried out include: the special recruitment of English-speaking judicial staff to work in courts in the North-West and South-West regions for the 2017-2020 period; the special recruitment of 1,000 young bilingual graduates in science and technology, into the public service; the drafting of a three-year recruitment plan materialised by the launching of many competitive administrative examinations for 2 thousand 229 places; the launching of a special test-based recruitment of two hundred support staff, including secretaries, and drivers; the organisation of competitive entrance examinations into various higher professional schools; the continuation of the process to absorb 2,000 contract teachers into the public service; the absorption within one month of graduates of Higher Teachers Training Colleges; Review of about 1,156 files to send civil servants on further training; the processing of recruitment files of 13 thousand 665 State employees and the transfer of 6 thousand 468 instruments into the ANTILOPE application for financial consideration; the ongoing cleaning up of the State payroll and support of Government departments in the decentralized management of State personnel and payroll; the gradual dematerialisation of administrative procedures.

Regarding State Property, Surveys and Land Tenure, 2017 was marked by better provision of land, increased safety of real property, and this sector's significant contribution to the improvement of the business climate.

Consequently, the following results were achieved: the strengthening of the national geodesic network through the construction of 3 thousand 381 pillars in 37 councils; the conduct of the study on the demarcation of administrative boundaries; the digitizing of 52 thousand land documents and 112 land registers; the protection and development of State property; the constitution of land reserves by securing 234 thousand 991 hectares of land for project owners with huge impact on growth; the on-going securing of 3 million 925 thousand 750 hectares in the ten Regions to support second generation agriculture; the securing of land necessary for the implementation of major infrastructural projects, in the road, energy and water sectors.

The Right Honourable Speaker of the National Assembly, Honourable Members of Parliament,

In the area of Communication, Government has initiated the phase of contractualization of rehabilitation works of CRTV, also bringing on board the imperative of migrating from analogue to digital technology.

We also revitalized communication in land border zones in order to eliminate shadow and skip zones, seen in the ongoing construction of broadcast centres.

The year 2017 was also marked by the completion of rehabilitation works of SOPECAM. In the same vein, appropriate measures were taken for the rehabilitation of the National Printing Press.

In Basic Education, Government embarked on several projects to make primary education universal, promote literacy, and develop pre-school offer. These projects include:

the creation of 100 new schools; the construction and equipping of close to 1,000 classrooms in Government primary schools; the renovation of 36 Government primary schools; the construction of 114 latrine blocks; the purchase of 18 thousand 372 desks in Government primary schools; the construction of 25 fences; the strengthening of human resources by recruiting 2 thousand 970 new teachers; the transfer of 2 billion 85 million 553 CFA francs for the purchase of the minimum packet for Government primary schools; the grant of subsidies to private schools totaling 1 billion 852 million 990 thousand CFA Francs; the grant of operating funds to Government primary schools amounting to 4 billion 835 million 204 thousand FCFA; Support for the education of girls by providing 500 school kits; Improvement of the quality of education in primary schools by equipping them with 5,000 micro-science kits, providing 3,000 pedagogic computers to pupils and distributing free of charge 650,000 readers in English and French; a special grant of an additional 1 billion CFA Francs by the Head of State as subsidy to private primary education for 2017; the promotion of our national languages by developing didactic materials; the continuation of literacy for 24 thousand people in all the regions; the development of pre-school through the opening of 200 new nursery schools, construction of 30 nursery blocks, and the purchase of 1,200 small tables, 4,200 small chairs and 210 arm boards for 30 nursery blocks; the opening of 45 schools in refugee camps in the Adamawa, East and Far-North Regions.

As concerns general and technical Secondary Education, the main realisations include:

the construction of 89 blocks of 2 classrooms with ordinary desks; the construction of 15 workshops for professional practice in technical colleges and high schools; the supply of 5 thousand and 40 desks to 84 schools; purchase of 184 computers for 92 schools; improvement of pedagogy through the design of programmes and pedagogic guides; pedagogic support of 2 thousand 26 teachers being absorbed; the monitoring of 9 thousand 281 student teachers graduates from higher teachers' training colleges; the continuing training of 753 regional coordination inspectors, and national and regional pedagogic inspectors; the tighter control of school drop-outs through multi-faceted assistance to 4 thousand 500 students with special needs; the improvement of working and living conditions in schools by creating staff unions for secondary education; the diversification of training offer by opening the Yabassi Technical and Vocational Agricultural School in January 2017; the continuation of construction works of reference technical high schools in Maroua and Nsam in Yaoundé; the admission of 410 instructors for industrial experience in about a hundred companies, for better professionalization of teachers; the alternate training of 1,025 students; the equipment of 15 Multimedia Resource Centres with computers in schools; the promotion and development of bilingualism in schools; the closing of 81 clandestine schools; the cleaning of the State payroll and personnel database with switch to the ANTILOPE application of 16 thousand 530 absorption decisions; the automatic processing of 11 thousand advancement decisions, 12 thousand 153 absorption files, and 1,150 files for payment of entitlements.

In Higher Education, Government action included: making operational the building housing the Rectorate of the Pan African University in Yaoundé; the completion of construction works of the Cameroon-Congo Interstate University in Sangmelima; the establishment of the Faculty of Science of Education at the University of Ngaoundéré; the School of Chemical Engineering and Mineral Industries at the University of Ngaoundéré; the Higher National Polytechnic Institute at the University of Maroua; the creation, on Friday 24 November 2017, of the National Higher Polytechnic Institute of the University of Bamenda, the Higher Technical Teacher Training College of the University of Yaounde I in Ebolowa, and the Faculty of Medicine and Pharmaceutical Sciences in the University of Dschang; the widespread opening of business incubators in State universities; the higher intake capacity of State universities, at the rate of: 14 thousand 640 places at the University of Douala, 2 thousand and 75 places at the University of Buea, 2 thousand 900 places at the University of Bamenda, 4 thousand 825 places at the University of Maroua, 2 thousand 500 places at the University of Dschang and 500 places at the University of Yaoundé II; the increase in the number of students trained in technological and professional institutions from 18% in 2012 to about 21% in 2017; the harmonization of law programmes in State universities; the creation of Departments of Common Law at the Universities of Dschang, Douala, Maroua and Ngaoundéré, as well as Departments of French Private Law at the Universities of Bamenda and Buea.

In the area of Public Health, the significant results recorded concern health promotion, disease prevention, case management, and institutional support to the health sector.

For example, we can note: the organization of public awareness campaigns, particularly for vulnerable groups, to combat acute, chronic malnutrition; the training of 186 members of District Management Teams on the prevention of infection; free medical care for 256 thousand 633 pregnant women against malaria; the placement of 7 thousand 553 HIV positive pregnant women on anti-retroviral drugs; administration of 2 thousand 722 vaccine doses against viral hepatitis B, including 654 for children below 15 years, at a subsidized rate of 2 thousand instead of 7 thousand 600 CFA Francs; Penta-3 vaccination coverage for 356 thousand 323 children, representing 85% of cases; vaccination of 115 thousand 482 people, as part of a cholera prevention campaign in the Health District of Mogode in the Far-North Region; vaccination of 6 thousand 304 people against meningococcal meningitis at the Kondengui Central Prison; vaccination of 6 million 27 thousand 190 children below five years against poliomyelitis; prevention of cervical cancer through the vaccination of 17 thousand 162 girls aged 9 to 13 years against the human papillomavirus infection; distribution of about 10 million onchocerciasis prevention treatments; the establishment, under the high instructions of the Head of State, of two fruitful partnerships with MERCY SHIPS and ORBIS, aimed respectively at treating 3 thousand major surgery cases between August 2017 and June 2018 on

board the hospital ship, and at training 78 eye-care students as well as providing health care to 235 cases, on board the Flying Eye Hospital; the free malaria treatment for 110 thousand 93 under-five children, for uncomplicated malaria and 67 thousand 345 children suffering from acute malaria; provision of Anti-retroviral drugs to 227 thousand 562 people living with HIV; free health-care to 16 thousand 211 cases of smear-positive pulmonary tuberculosis; the operationalization of 10 Viral Hepatitis Treatment Centres in the Centre, Littoral, North, West and North-West Regions; the admission of 10 thousand 285 cases at the Yaoundé Emergency Centre; the start of construction works of the National Health Emergency Operations Centre, to be used to coordinate the management of Public Health emergencies; the detection of 186 cases of rare diseases, including 22 cases in children; the provision of treatment to 507 lepers; the start of construction works of the Garoua Referral Hospital, with a capacity of 300 beds; the monitoring of available stocks of tracer medicines, in order to streamline the management of medicine stocks; the grant of 111 scholarships to personnel; the deployment of 395 personnel, including 258 General Practitioners, 78 Pharmacists, 30 Dental Surgeons and 29 Senior Public Health Administrators; the increase of pedagogic equipment in training schools through the provision of 200 E-learning tablets; the conduct of studies to establish universal health coverage; the update of the health map, which helped to identify 3 thousand 58 illegal health facilities.

In the area of Employment and Vocational Training, Government worked to promote decent employment, through the creation of 398 thousand 46 new jobs.

This performance was achieved thanks to opportunities offered by various recruitments in the Public Service, the Defence and Security Forces, Local Authorities, the implementation of the Three-year Emergency Plan to accelerate economic growth decided by the President of the Republic, the activities of government programmes and projects, monitoring of the workforce in various major public construction sites, including those of the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations. As part of the development of vocational training, we can cite: the effective opening of Vocational Training Centres of Excellence in Limbe, Douala and Sangmelima; the commencement of construction works of the Yaoundé National Training Institute for Vocational Trainers and Programme Development with donations from Korea; the completion of construction works of the Nkongsamba Vocational Training Centre, fruit of cooperation with Austria; and the award of 30 Moroccan scholarships and 19 Algerian scholarships to the youth.

With regard to Labour and Social Security, efforts are being made to design a national social security policy.

In the area of Arts and Culture, Government mainly focused on conserving arts and culture and strengthening the production apparatus for cultural goods and services.

The Right Honourable Speaker of the National Assembly, Honourable Members of Parliament, Ladies and Gentlemen,

Permit me to make a succinct presentation of the major areas of the programme which Government intends to implement during the 2018 financial year.

For the 2018 financial year, Government intends to build up momentum to finalize ongoing major projects and institutional and structural reforms.

Special focus shall be placed on the completion of various infrastructures for the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations, the implementation of residual projects for the three-year emergency plan to accelerate economic growth, and the optimal implementation of the three-year "Special Youth" Plan.

Regarding the public procurement system, Government's action shall focus on: finalizing the public contracts programming application; intensifying missions to control and monitor the activities of public procurement committees and contracting authorities; building the capacities of public procurement actors; strengthening the management of commercial contracts to better protect public funds. In the area of territorial and local governance, priority shall be given to strengthening and consolidating State authority. Moreover, this will involve implementing the following actions: cleaning up the entertainment and gambling sector; streamlining private security activities and armoury; completion of works to construct offices for 3 Divisional Officers and 12 Senior-divisional offices, as well as residences for 2 Governors, 6 Divisional Officers and 15 Senior-divisional Officers; strengthening and consolidating the decentralization process; effective alignment of Councils to the programme budget; the modernization of the National Programme to Secure and Rehabilitate Lake Nyos; the optimum management of refugees, displaced persons and host communities in the Adamawa, East and Far-North Regions;

At the security level, we shall also continue to strengthen the operational capacities of our security and defence forces, by providing them with substantial infrastructural, material and human resources.

There shall be increased vigilance throughout the national territory in order to anticipate threats and prevent those with intentions of undermining the security of Cameroonians and their property from causing any harm.

Furthermore, Government plans to step up its action based on the following strategic initiatives: Improve the capacity of various security arrangements to adapt to new situations on the ground; Train recruits from the competitive examinations opened in 2017; Continue the process of establishing new Police units; Continue modernizing National Security and strengthening its operational capacity.

In the justice sector, efforts shall focus on strengthening human resources and their training, particularly in the South-West and North-West Regions. We shall also continue to computerize the judicial system through the development of applications for the Courts of Appeal and Courts of First Instance. We also intend to improve the penitentiary policy, particularly by continuing works to construct the Douala-Ngoma Central Prison, rehabilitate the Poli, Kumba and Doukoula Prisons, and improve the penal ration for detainees.

At the economic level, we shall ensure the respect of commitments made within the framework of the economic and financial programme signed in June 2017, supported by the Extended Credit Facility. equipping 767 classrooms with teachers' tables in primary schools; constructing 21 blocks of 2 houses for teachers in rural areas; conducting literacy programmes for 25 thousand persons in all the regions of the country on how to read and write. Concerning secondary education, Government plans to continue developing the science and technical fields by designing training manuals and establishing public-private partnerships under the regulatory framework on patronage and sponsorship. Government shall intensify the continuous training of trainers including: 2 thousand 500 teachers of computer science; 9 thousand 500 bilingual teachers within 3 years ; 500 school administrative staff ; 350 persons in charge of post and extracurricular activities. In addition, Government will also proceed with the gradual revision of the 2nd cycle study programmes by designing 77 new programmes. The same applies to the diversification of the training offers and the boosting of the reception capacities of schools.

For this purpose, we plan to carry out the following activities: start the construction of the Kribi Comprehensive Tourism and Hospitality High School; continue the construction work of the Foukar Beo Comprehensive High School of Agricultural Studies in Yagoua; equip the technical high schools of Meiganga, Nkolbisson in Yaoundé, Bertoua, Bamenda and Garoua; complete the construction of 03 turnkey facilities, namely Government Teacher Training College Edea, Government Technical Teacher Training College of Jikejem-Oku and Bilingual Technical College of Mewoulou; construct 100 classroom blocks; equip classrooms with 6 thousand desks; develop a geo-referenced school map; construct the Ekounou Technical and Professional High School of Construction-related trades and Public Works;

In the higher education sector, the main activities shall be: the finalization of development works on roads and various networks and the construction of an administrative block at the Higher Teacher Training College of Bamenda; the construction of an administrative and pedagogic block, as well as the acquisition of equipment for the Faculty of Health Sciences of the University of Bamenda; the construction and acquisition of equipment for Higher Technical Teacher Training College Kumba, the Faculty of Health Sciences, the Faculty of Engineering and Technology and the Advanced School of Translators and Interpreters in the University of Buea; the continuation of development works on roads and various networks of the University of Douala; the completion of construction and the acquisition of equipment for the Institute of Fine Arts, Foumban; the finalization of development works on roads and various networks and the acquisition of equipment for the Higher Teacher Training College of Maroua; the construction in Garoua of the 500-capacity amphitheatre as an annex of the Faculty of Law and Political Science of the University of Ngaoundéré; the rehabilitation of the Centre for Biotechnology and the construction of the University Institute of Wood Technology Mbalmayo, in the University of Yaoundé I; the construction of the 1,000-capacity library in Soa and that of Advanced School of Mass Communication in the University of Yaoundé II.

In the employment and vocational training sector, Government shall focus on: developing the Statistical Yearbook on Employment and Vocational Training; improving transparency of the labour market; awarding vocational training scholarships; constructing the Nanga-Eboko Training Centre for Industrial Trades; implementing open and/or distance learning; constructing and equipping School, University and Vocational Guidance Counselling Centres in Ngaoundéré and Maroua, and equipping the Douala Library; producing a directory of promising trades in Cameroon.

In the social sector, Public authorities shall focus on: the holistic care of at least 2 thousand 300 socially vulnerable people; equipping and making operational the Maroua Centre for the Rehabilitation of Disabled Persons; continue to equip the Cardinal Paul Emile LEGER National Centre for the Rehabilitation of Persons with Disabilities; the allocation of productive aid to 5 thousand socially vulnerable persons; the socio-economic integration or reintegration of 150 thousand socially vulnerable persons; the improvement of social governance.

Regarding Women's Empowerment and the Family, Government will focus on the implementation of activities aimed at improving the socio-economic situation of women, gender equality, family cohesion and the protection of children's rights. For this purpose, the following specific actions are envisaged: strengthen women's participation in politics; construct 3 Women Empowerment Centres in Bourha, Yaoundé 6 and in Bamenda; equip 7 Women Empowerment Centres in Biwong Bulu, Muyuka, Ndobiang, Nguelebock, Bamusso, Mbandjock and Olamze; rehabilitate 5 Women Empowerment Centres in Poli, Bafia, Limbe, Yaoundé 4 and Garoua; support couples to legalize and/or stabilize their unions. In the area of Arts and Culture, Government action shall include: the development and the profitability of the cultural and artistic heritage; the popularization and enhancement of Cameroonian culture; the development and promotion of creative industries, by setting up viable cultural enterprises, and that of the National Institute of Arts and Culture; the development of cultural tourism and the structuring of cultural industries; the revitalization of national cultural cooperation, through a strong presence in the governing bodies of international organizations in the field of culture.

In the Public Health sector, Government shall continue to implement the projects outlined in the Three-Year Emergency Plan. Government shall also take the necessary sanitary measures to prepare for the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations.

Specific actions will also be taken in the areas of health promotion, disease prevention, case management and improvement of hospital governance. Our efforts will thus focus on: Providing antiretroviral treatment to about 26 thousand 846 HIV-positive pregnant women, representing about 83% of cases; intensifying awareness-raising campaigns against cancer; reinforcing emergency and disaster management; continuing to provide free treatment for uncomplicated and severe malaria cases in health facilities; continuing deworming campaigns for school-age children; ensuring the management of viral hepatitis throughout the country in all regional hospitals; rehabilitating the Yaoundé Central Hospital, the Laquintinie Hospital in Douala, and the Garoua and Limbe Regional Hospitals, as a prelude to the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations; rehabilitating and equipping 79 health facilities in the northern regions.

In 2018, Government shall devote special attention to Sports and Physical Education with a view to optimizing preparations for the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations to ensure the success of this event.

On 10th August 2017, during the reception at Unity Palace of medallists of international competitions, President Paul Biya said that Cameroon's resolve to host the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations was irreversible, and that our country shall be ready at the set time.

Therefore, particular emphasis shall be laid on the completion of sports infrastructure and construction works related to the organization of this event, notably access roads, hotels, and health facilities.

We will also continue organizing other sports activities, such as the "Chantal BIYA" International Cycling Grand Prix, the Race of Hope, and the activities of our different sports federations.

In the Youth and Civic Education sector, Government's actions in 2018 will include the following:

monitoring the implementation of the Special Youth Triennial Plan; intensifying the national campaign for civic education and national integration; giving fresh impetus to mobile animation teams in urban and rural areas throughout the country; establishing business incubators for the agro-pastoral sector and the digital economy in multifunctional youth advancement centres; and, organizing a campaign to mobilize and sensitize 50 thousand young people on youth addiction.

The Right Honourable Speaker of the National Assembly, Honourable Members of Parliament, Ladies and Gentlemen,

The Programme I have just presented to you is aimed at enabling Government to effectively implement the main political and strategic guidelines of the Head of State, His Excellency Paul BIYA, considering the specific context of our country.

Thus, Government will assess the full extent of current stakes in order to develop the appropriate mechanisms to face the significant challenges in 2018 and provide appropriate solutions where necessary.

These challenges include: the preparations for the Africa Cup of Nations 2019; the completion of the implementation of the Three-Year Emergency Plan to accelerate growth, and the continuation of the implementation of the special triennial plan for youth; the issues related to the preparation of the elections to be organized in 2018; the continued implementation of major socio-economic development projects which are underway; the implementation of the 2017-2019 Economic and Financial Programme; and all the security constraints within the country and at the borders.

Given the significance and sensitive nature of all these issues, Government must make every effort to achieve the sector-specific objectives it has set for 2018. Consequently, the draft budget for 2018, submitted for your approval, was prepared using a macroeconomic framework based on all these contextual elements. It is based on the realistic assumption of a real Gross Domestic Product growth rate of 4.2% and an inflation rate of 2%. The State budget estimates for the 2018 financial year are balanced in revenue and expenditure at 4 thousand 513 billion 500 million CFA francs, against 4 thousand 373 billion 800 million CFA francs in 2017. This represents an increase of 139 billion 700 million CFA francs in absolute terms and 3.2% in relative terms. This increase is rather moderate, given the constraints of the specific context on which this finance bill is based. In this overall forecast, expected revenue stands at 4 thousand 513 billion 500 million CFA francs and will come from the following sources: oil revenue amounting to 362 billion CFA francs; non-oil revenue amounting to 2 thousand 814 billion CFA francs; loans and grants will be authorized up to 1,338 billion CFA francs; Projected expenditure is estimated at 4 thousand 513 billion 500 million CFA francs and is broken down as follows: 2 thousand 195 billion, 300 million CFA francs for recurrent expenses; 1,291 billion 500 million CFA francs for capital expenditure, that is, 28.61% of annual budget; 1 thousand and 27 billion CFA francs for public debt. The Right Honourable Speaker of the National Assembly, Honourable Members of Parliament, Ladies and Gentlemen, Such is Government's Economic, Financial, Social and Cultural Programme for 2018, towards the realization of which Government is soliciting the support and backing of the Honourable Members of Parliament, for its implementation under the high authority of the Head of State, His Excellency Paul BIYA. Thank you for your kind attention."

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