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National Road Board : Contracting Authorities Urged to Complete Projects

Below is a press release from the Prime Minister’s Office issued after the National Road Board that held on December 23, 2014 in Yaounde under the chair of Prime Minister, Philemon Yang.

The Prime Minister, Head of Government, Mr YANG Philemon, Chair of the National Road Board (CONAROUTE), on Tuesday 23 December 2014 as from 9 :00 a.m., in the main building of the his Office, chaired the 17th session of the said Board. In attendance, apart from his close aides, were the statutory members of the Board as well as personalities invited for the occasion.

The session was devoted essentially to a review of the implementation progress of instructions and recommendations of previous sessions of the Board.

In his opening speech, the Chairman of the Board called out the various Contracting Authorities on the need to ensure the effective implementation of approved programmes. He further dwelled on the timeliness of better aligning these programmes with the road projects selected as part of the implementation of the Three-Year Contingency Plan to Fast Track Growth as prescribed by the President of the Republic.

With regard to the implementation progress of instructions given during its previous sessions, the Board expressed satisfaction with their overall satisfactory level of implementation. This was seen since January 2014 in the construction of about 114 km of roads, including the Ndop-Kumbo, Nandéké-Mbéré, Kribi-Lolabé, Zoétélé-Nkolyop road sections; the start-up of construction works on certain engineering structures including the second bridge on Wouri River and the bridge on Mayo-Galké; the rehabilitation of some road sections on a linear distance of 249 km, such as the Mora-Dabanga road whose works are ongoing, the Yaoundé-Bafoussam-Bamenda corridor, and the Figuil-Magada road. Similarly, certain agropastoral production basins were opened up and access roads built to certain touristic sites and border zones. Operations to protect the national road heritage were stepped up with the procurement of mobile solar-powered axle-load weighing equipment and the optic fibre connection of weighing stations. In terms of opening-up of production basins, the previous operation was already marked by the opening of 44 km agricultural feeder and access roads, the rehabilitation of 106 km of roads and the construction of 13 crossing structures for a total cost of CFAF 903 million. This work was continued in 2014, with the opening and rehabilitation of 215 km and construction of 24 crossing structures for a total cost of CFAF 1,490,000.000. The total linear distance of feeder roads maintained rose from 7,900 km in 2013, to 8,500 km in 2014.

The posting of road-side publicity posters on classified public land and its appurtenances is now regulated by a Circular of 18 November 2014. Also, the review of the normative framework of land regulations is being finalized. The first results of this reform include Decree No. 2014/3209/PM of 29 September 2014 to set out the minimum prices of annual royalties payable for occupying the appurtenances of public land.

As part of the improvement of urban mobility, 39 towns will benefit from the maintenance of their roads under the Road Fund FY 2014 budget. Several projects for multi-year contracts are nearing completion, especially the rehabilitation of urban roads in Biyem-Assi, Nsimeyong, as well as access roads to Olembé. Meanwhile, the section of the Yaoundé-Nsimalen motorway in open country is in progress. The construction projects of the Yaounde East (40 km) and West (24 km) by-pass roads are in the start-up phase.

Alongside all these, a series of engineering studies for roads and engineering structures targeting about 3,000 km of roads were carried out followed by the signing of technical assistance agreements with contracting authorities and public institutional stakeholders in the infrastructure sector, the intention being to use certain approved local substitutes of bitumen during road works. To ultimately reduce the high cost of inputs of road and construction works and enable Cameroon to tackle the challenge of becoming an emerging economy in this sector, the Government opted to accompany the establishment of some major industrial projects, aimed especially at producing hot and cold bitumen, transforming iron and boosting national supply of cement.

In the area of road safety and accident prevention, operations to control-supervise and punish road offences were continued and stepped up by teams of the National Gendarmerie. This led to a significant reduction in the number of road accidents and deaths as well as the collection of substantial revenue as road fines and penalties. During end-of-year festivities, there are plans to extend these operations to the following road sections: Douala-Tiko-Nkongsamba-Santchou; Bagangté-Bafoussam-Dschang-Foumban-Mbouda-Bamenda; Yaoundé-Ayos-Abong-Mbang-Bertoua; Mbalmayo-Sangmelima-Ebolowa; Nyambaka-Ngaoundéré-Mbé-Touboro and Gouna-Garoua-Guider-Figuil. In the same vein, Cameroon undertook to modernize its safety arrangement by introducing the video-surveillance system whose control room lodged in the General Delegation for National Security was inaugurated on 7 August 2014 by the Minister, Secretary-General at the Presidency of the Republic. Thus, apart from Yaounde, several other urban centres – Douala, Kousseri, Waza, Kyé-ossi and Garoua-Boulaï – now benefit from this technology. Also, the operational capacities of Regional Highways and Traffic Squads have been upgraded in terms of human resources, means of locomotion (63 new motorcycles) and transmission equipment.

In the same vein, our country has acquired machines for removing obstacles and broken-down vehicles from roads, comprising 5 tow trucks with significant traction capacity; other machines including 17 pick-up vehicles and 6 network surveillance motorcycles being delivered. Partnership agreements are being negotiated with Local Authorities to define the terms of conditions for managing this equipment. Further, a reflection is underway to lead to the application of off-the-road measures on vehicles in very bad working condition and the significant reduction of road accidents involving heavy-duty vehicles. Another reflection is ongoing to transform driving schools into real training centres with standardized premises, approved equipment, qualified staff and updated training programmes.

At the end of the presentations and ensuing discussions, the Board noted the ongoing implementation of a number of validated programmes and the constraints raised by contracting authorities and delegated contracting authorities. All institutional stakeholders concerned were urged to ensure the completion of all these projects, to enable our country address future challenges especially the organization of the African Cup of Nations in 2016 and 2019, while endowing it with appropriate infrastructure.

Specifically, the Chairperson of the Board instructed inter alia:

 the Minister for Housing and Urban Development to:

- liaise with the Minister in charge of the economy and the Government Delegates of the City Councils concerned to urgently implement construction projects of bypass roads of regional headquarters, especially Yaounde, Douala, Bafoussam and Bertoua ;

- contact the Minister in charge of the economy, to quickly finalize the process of mobilizing funds for the project to improve traffic conditions in Yaounde to resolve the traffic congestion now observed;

 the Minister for the Economy, Planning and Regional Development, to take necessary steps to look for dedicated financing for the urgent implementation of the Programme to develop roadside rest areas along major highways;

 the Minister for Transports, to quickly complete the ongoing reflection with Local Authorities towards putting in place a sustainable mechanism for removing obstacles or poorly parked vehicles and, where applicable, propose modalities for the creation of a specialized structure for that;

 the Minister for Public Works, to launch feasibility studies to obtain preliminary designs of road sections, allowing for a greater legibility of the total linear distance of Cameroon’s Road Map by 2035, to enable each Regional Headquarters to be connected to the political capital by a motorway;

 the Minister for Finances, to liaise with the Minister for Trade and all other stakeholders, to initiate a reflection to reduce the age of imported second-hand cars;

 the Minister for Post and Telecommunications, to liaise with national mobile telephone companies to make necessary arrangements to ensure telephone coverage along major highways as well as install public call booths and open a toll-free number to facilitate the urgent reporting of accidents;

 the Minister for Basic Education, to liaise with the Minister for Secondary Education to organize a reflection leading to the inclusion of basic notions of the Highway Code in the school curricula of primary and secondary schools.

He instructed all Contracting Authorities to ensure the proper maturation of their anchor projects, so as to avoid the under-valuing of required works on the one hand and establishing a priority of the projects to be undertaken based on the real needs and the funding that can be mobilized on the other hand.

The meeting ended with the consideration of sundry issues linked to the national road policy.

Proceedings were adjourned at 12:15 p.m./-

MOTAZE Louis Paul,

Secretary-General of the

Prime Minister’s Office

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