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Expectations Versus Priorities

President Paul Biya’s nation-wide address of December 31, 2014, gave outlines of what lies in stock in 2015.

As the year 2015 begins, Cameroonians are expectant that the economy will fare better, thus producing the resultant positive multiplier impact on their livelihoods. In his address to the nation on December 31, 2015, President Paul Biya explained that some of the economic expectations for 2014 could not be met as a result of “the escalation of attacks against our national territory by the Boko Haram sect.

Besides this, there were the criminal activities of armed gangs on our border with the Central African Republic.” It is largely because of the foregoing and government’s objective to attain economic emergence for Cameroon by 2035 that the Head of State ordered a series of measures to jumpstart development and create wealth.

Economic Contingency Plan

The government’s three-year Economic Contingency Development Plan for the country, announced by President Paul Biya on December 9, 2014 at the State House cabinet meeting, is now off the ground. With the management of the Follow-up Committee for the Implementation of the Three-year Contingency Plan For Boosting Economic Growth already appointed and commissioned, activities took off on December 22, 2014.

The FCFA 925 billion emergency development plan focuses on seven priority areas, covering all 10 regions of the country. These are urban infrastructure and housing, health, agriculture and livestock, roads, energy, drinkable water supply and urban security.

Cost-cutting Measures

During the same cabinet meeting on December 9, 2014, President Biya called on senior government functionaries to have a rethink about their lavish lifestyles. He noted that if the trend continued, government would not be able to save scarce financial resources, which are needed to be redirected to key sectors of the economy for the populace to truly feel the impact of the dividends of economic growth.

With such an appeal coming from no other person but the leader of the country, Cameroonians are anxiously waiting to see cabinet ministers, general managers and other vote holders drastically cut down their fleet of official cars, spending on fuel, telephone and foreign trips and other heavy money-consuming activities.       

Major Infrastructure Projects

“A quick evaluation of our economic programme shows that our first-generation major projects are either completed, nearing completion, or on track. Such is the case, in particular, for the Kribi Gas-fired Plant and Port, dams and hydroelectric power plants, as well as some road and various infrastructure projects,” the Head of State said in his address on December 31, 2014.

Thanks to these projects, he continued, “… there is renewed activity in various sectors of our economy. The impact on employment and the improvement of living conditions is also visible. The year 2015 should therefore be characterised by the launching of second-generation projects in the energy, water, road and highway and transport sectors,” he pointed out.

Administrative Bottlenecks

Nonetheless, the dream of Cameroonians to see better times in 2015 might not become reality if nothing is quickly done about the many administrative bottlenecks – many of them deliberate. While respect for due process in official transactions remains the ideal in a democracy like ours, considering a review of some of the rather endless procedures needed in doing business with government would be a most welcome move.

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