This was during a maiden visit to GICAM yesterday May 18, 2021 to lobby for their support.
The Prime Minister, Head of Government, has obtained the support of the business community in the implementation of the project for the reconstruction of the North West and South West regions. This was during a maiden visit to the Employers Union office in Douala (GICAM) on Tuesday May 18, during which he presented the project. To allay fears of mismanagement, the PM said the financial management of the project has been entrusted to the United Nations Development Programme and that companies can either channel their financial support through the UN agency or invest directly in some micro projects that benefit the communities directly.
He said the private sector accounts for 70 per cent of fiscal revenue, making 40 per cent of State budget and therefore was an important partner especially at this moment when the State is cash strapped due to security concerns in the North West, South West as well as the Grand North, coupled with the advent of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The President of GICAM, Celestin Tawamba, said GICAM was committed to work hand in hand with government as long as government enables the competitiveness of companies. He said despite the fact that companies have been negatively affected by the crisis in the North West and South West as well as the coronavirus outbreak, the private sector is going to be involved in the implementation of the project.
Presenting the project to the business community, the Coordinator of the monitoring committee of the project, Minister Paul Tasong said the project comprises three phases namely; recovery, reconstruction and development. He disclosed that out of the 10 billion that was available for the project, 3.5 billion have been disbursed already.
In the question and answer session that followed, GICAM members expressed concerns about the security of their investment and workers in the regions as well as guarantees or insurance cover in case of damaged property or lost of lives in the regions during the implementation of the project. They also said the government incentive by declaring the zones as "economic sinister zones', do not go far enough to lure the business community to invest in the regions.
The PM did not return with an empty basket as the SABC group made an on-the-spot commitment to finance projects to the tune of FCFA 500 million while promising to double the amount to one billion should the first phase of the investment prove successful. Others like the President of GICAM pledged the sum of 200 million to support the project and Total Company promised to offer jobs to youths from the North West and South West regions.
Also present at the meeting, were the Presidents of the Regional Councils of the North West and South West who presented micro projects which could be of interest to the private sector. Both parties took a commitment to work together to iron out differences as well as spell out modalities for cooperation in the implementation of the project .