2 March 2018

Cameroon: Three-Year Emergency Plan - Low-Cost Housing Projects to Be Accelerated

Below is a press statement from the Prime Minister's office after yesterday's cabinet meeting.

"The Prime Minister, Head of Government, His Excellency Philemon YANG, this Thursday 1 March 2018 chaired this month's Cabinet Meeting at 3:00 p.m. at the Prime Minister's Office. Apart from his close aides, the meeting was attended by the Vice-Prime Minister, Ministers of State, Ministers, Ministers Delegate and Secretaries of State.

Two items featured on the agenda namely: 1. Statement by the Minister Delegate at the Presidency in charge,, of Public Contracts on " stakes and prospects of dematerializing public procurement procedures";

2. Statement by the Minister of Housing and Urban Development on "progress of the low-cost houses building programme and related public facilities under the three-year emergency plan to accelerate economic growth";

Before giving the floor to the ministers concerned for their statements, the Prime Minister emphasized the instructions of the President of the Republic who ordered that missions abroad for members of Government and State agents be reduced to the absolute minimum, just as the sizes of the delegations should. He said that journeys by air for Board Chairs, Administrators, Director Generals and the Deputy Directors General of companies and public establishments, shall be in business class and shall be subject to the prior authorization of the technical supervisory ministers and the Head of Government.

Concerning State agents, the Prime Minister recalled that their travels abroad on official missions shall be in economy class and those who were exceptionally entitled to first class shall now travel in business class. The Prime Minister instructed ministers and the Minister of Finance in particular to ensure the strict compliance of travel classes by State agents while waiting for the ongoing amendment of the decree thereto related.

Following the introductory statement of the Head of Government, the Minister of Public Contracts presented the stakes of the project to dematerialize public procurement procedures. This project, also called "e-procurement", is articulated in 3 phases which are part of a wide ranging programme to modernize the Cameroonian public procurement system, in order to make it more efficient in terms of speed, transparency and easing procedures.

Referring to the actions carried out with the support of the Korean cooperation under the first phase of the project, the Minister said that the platform to dematerialise documents used in bidding, called "Cameroon on fine e-procurement system" (COLEPS) was operational. Through this platform, 1898 contracts were programmed in 2017 and 177 tenders.

Furthermore, the legal framework governing the dematerialization of procedures was set up, with the signing on 5 January 2018 of instruments to lay down regulations for use, and the terms and conditions for awarding contracts electronically in Cameroon.

As for prospects, the Minister of Public Contracts announced ongoing works for the second phase of the project comprising: (i) the constitution of a statistical and economic database for the public contracts sector; (ii) development of computer modules to enable electronic signing of contracts, monitoring public contracts and on-line payment of related fees. Moreover, the normative structure to ease the public procurement procedures needs to be boosted, and a pilot phase to experiment the project shall be done in 2018 on selected ministries and local administrations.

The Minister of Housing and Urban Development then took the floor for a report on the progress of the low-cost houses building programme under the Three-year Emergency Plan to accelerate economic growth. He revealed that this programme consists in the construction of a total of 800 houses, with 100 houses per Region, with the exception of Yaounde (Centre Region) and Douala (Littoral Region) which already benefit from other programmes related to social housing. To these houses, should be added public facilities namely: a primary and a nursery school, a health centre, a supermarket, offices and play grounds.

Regarding the execution rate of this important programme, the Minister of Housing disclosed that the study phase is ended and works are ongoing in all regions concerned. The execution rate to date stands at 92% for the site in Ebolowa and about 35% for the other 7 sites. Delivery of the various work sites is scheduled for 2018.

To conclude, the Minister of Housing mentioned a few difficulties hampering the effective execution of the works, such as the security atmosphere in some Regions of the country, and the shape and topography of some sites.

After the discussions arising from these statements, the Prime Minister instructed the Minister of Public Contracts to finalize the draft text in order to complete the normative structure to regulate on-line procurement. He equally urged him to ensure that all stakeholders appropriate the e-procurement tools, in order to guarantee the principle of equity and free access to public procurement. To the Minister of Housing and Urban Development, the Head of Government instructed the speeding up of works on all sites and to submit to him a strategy for the leasing of these low-cost houses.

The meeting was adjourned at 5:15 pm." Yaounde 1st March 2018 Secretary General Prime Minister's Office


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