Cameroon: Imperative Transparency!


Managing the coronavirus pandemic currently ravaging the world, Cameroon inclusive, can be challenging looking at the complexities linked to it. Being a virus, it is invisible and so infects and destroys even the unsuspecting human life and economy.

As government battles to clip the wings of the destroyer, striving to make good use of available human resources, the need to keep the population abreast with the evolution of the pandemic and how well funds budgeted and painstakingly sourced for that are spent is crucial. For, the confusion brought in by the pandemic might blind some administrators and open floodgates for others to reap from where they haven't sown. No one, or at least very few, would ignore the fact that crises are rare moments for unscrupulous individuals to pilfer public funds in the guise of handling the situation. Past crises teach the lesson of caution!

The Prime Minister's decree of July 22, 2020 fixing the allocation of the Endowment of the Special National Solidarity Fund for the Fight against Coronavirus and its economic and social repercussions as well as the Circular of the Minister of Finance of the same day specifying the modalities of organisation, operation and monitoring-evaluation of the Special National Solidarity Fund for the Fight against coronavirus and its socio-economic consequences are thus more than timely.

Besides showing government's desire for transparency, the Minister's circular accompanying the PM's decree fixing the allocation of the endowment of the Solidarity Fund could also be read as a call for caution on vote holders.

Government and development partners, alongside people of goodwill do sacrifice a lot to contain the spread of the virus as well as cushion its effects on the national socio-economic fabric. That government had to amend certain provisions of the 2020 Finance Law, notably readjusting the State budget to handle eventualities caused by the virus speaks of its unwavering determination to safeguard lives and livelihoods. Contributions chipped in thus far from within and without to the Special Solidarity Fund set up by the Head of State is equally telling of valued cohesion in handling a common enemy. Donors to the Solidarity Fund definitely need to know how the scarce resources they gave and give are being used.

The government's outing underlines that the functioning mechanism of the Special Allocation Account makes it possible to guarantee better monitoring of the use of the resources mobilised, in order to better meet with the necessities of clarity and answerability. Observably, a good step in the right direction. Its triple effects could be reassuring to donors that their precious resources are not wasted, doors are open to constantly receive their advices and further support and that aspirations of citizens to the noble battle will be considered.

Now that those who manage or will be called upon to manage money from the Fund know what is expected of them, it pays to employ all tools of good governance to stand the challenge. FCFA 180 billion representing the total amount of resources allocated to the National Solidarity Fund is huge enough to be tampered with. All must therefore work as a team to ensure that the four new programmes contained in the overall response strategy against Covid-19 developed by government is implemented to the end and so satisfactorily.

Strengthening the health system, ensuring eco- nomic and financial resilience, reinforcing research and innovation and working for social flexibility should be made to move from wishes to reality. Fruition of the government's strategy passes through transparency and accountability of managers of the Fund. Imperative responsibility, to say the least!

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