10 January 2018

Cameroon: Unreserved Rigour!

Cameroon's State budget for 2018 which stands at FCFA 4,513.5 billion is technically fit for use. Revenue collectors, vote holders and contracting institutions have certainly swung into full action with the mobilisation of liquidity as well as the award and execution of contracts contained in the Projects Logbook.

The population is obviously not left out as anxiety mounts; logically so, on what would change in the backyard with the new State budget. The stakes and challenges at moment warrant all actors in the budgetary chain to be more than ever eager to each strive for the best. The context at moment wherein commodity products are not in the best of shapes on the global market - the worse of which is low crude oil prices, warrants readjustments.

Further still, the 2018 budget coming on the heels of a three-year partnership which government has entered with the International Monetary Fund, through the FCFA 388.2 billion Extended Credit Facility, means Cameroon needs to be more than ever before rigorous in all budgetary disciplines.

Hitherto recklessness should really be history! For, it is largely through strict discipline that the entire budgetary goals of making life better for the citizens could be attained. Anything short of the rigour could also compromise the attainment of the objectives of the Cameroon-IMF programme.

As a matter of reminder, the programme rests on three pillars: Fiscal consolidation to strengthen financial and external buffers, while protecting social spending and social safety nets; structural fiscal reforms to expand the non-oil revenue base, improve the efficiency of public investment and the quality of budgetary system.

The least of which is not mitigating fiscal risks from contingent liabilities and reforms to accelerate private sector-driven economic diversification to boost financial sector resilience.

Loud-sounding goals which can only make meaning when attained! Clearly, these are not pushover objectives that can be reached without serious sacrifices. Bad habits which mostly prioritise personal from collective interests should be forced to die and all stakeholders made responsible and accountable enough for what they do.

Even as concerted efforts are recommended to curb wasteful spending from within and without offices of State functionaries, stringency shouldn't be bargained in the mobilisation of revenue from all sources as well as on the execution of public contracts. Unreserved rigour is thus imperative!

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