The startling revelation came out of a Cabinet Meeting Thursday, March 26, 2020 at the auditorium of the Prime Minister’s Office chaired by Chief Dr. Dion Ngute Joseph, Prime Minister, Head of Government.
Attended among others by Ministers of State and Ministers, the Minister of Economy, Planning and Regional Development, Alamine Ousmane Mey presented a statement on the “general review of projects concluded as part of cooperation between China and Cameroon”, said a press release signed by Fouda Seraphin Magloire, Secretary General at the Prime Minister’s Office.
Invited to take the floor at the end of the introductory statement of the Head of Government, the Minister of Economy indicated that cooperation between Cameroon and China is old and diversified. It knew significant growth since 2007 after Cameroon attained the completion point of the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries Initiative (HIPC), thanks to the financing of several major projects through different channels, especially in sectors of water, energy, roads, telecommunications, transport and high education.
The portfolio of China-Cameroon cooperation consists of about fifteen active projects valued at about FCFA 3,300 billion, with the most outstanding being the construction of the Kribi deep seaport, the Yaounde-Douala motorway (phase 1), the supply of drinking water from the Sanaga River, the electrification of 350 localities by solar photovoltaic systems and the establishment of a national emergency telecommunications network.
“A recent evaluation of this portfolio, the press release said, “revealed that the lack of maturity of some projects has often led to implementation difficulties, resulting in longer completion periods and high costs. These difficulties are due to the delay in evacuating rights-of-way, delays in the disbursement of funds for works to start, non-compliance with certain contractual clauses and insufficient consideration of additional works required for infrastructure to be operational.”
In order to correct the operational shortcomings observed in the implementation of projects under China-Cameroon cooperation, the Minister of Economy indicated that emphasis would be laid on strengthening the strategic planning and anchoring of projects in general, and those with external funding in particular.
In addition, the prerequisite for the maturation of projects and their registration in the State’s project bank must also be respected for adequate budgetary programming. Furthermore, the mobilisation of concessional resources offering more advantageous conditions will be favoured, as well as the use of public-private partnerships in order to reduce the pressure on the state budget.
Prime Minister Instructs Economy, Finance Ministers
At the end of the discussions that followed, the Prime Minister instructed the Minister of Economy, in relation with the Minister of Finance (Louis Paul Motaze), to submit within the shortest possible time, a plan for the rapid clearance of the funds that are hindering the continuation and completion of projects underway.
He reiterated the directives of the Head of State, President Paul Biya to give priority to concessional loans and public-private partnerships for the implementation of investment projects in our country.