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Interview:“Project Implementation Rate Is 57 per cent”

Ndoh Bertha Bakata, Chairperson of the Coordination and Follow-up Committee on the Implementation of Priority Projects to be realised in the Bakassi Zone.

What is your take on the level of implementation of development projects in the Bakassi Peninsula at the end of 2015?

I am very happy because we have done better that we did last year. This year, we scored a project implementation rate of 57 per cent, well above the 31 per cent recorded last year. However, we are still hoping that more will be done.

What was the outcome of the last evaluation meeting that the Bakassi Projects Committee that held On December 15 in Yaounde?

We reviewed the FCFA 1.2 billion worth Mini Special Programme that we have submitted to the Ministry of the Economy, Planning and Regional Development to accelerate the development of the Bakassi Zone. Ministries concerned by projects under the programme include the Ministry of Water Resources and Energy which should ensure water and electricity supply; the Ministry of Livestock and Fisheries because a lot of fishing is done in the area; as well as Agriculture for which we work hand-in-glove with the Committee in charge of populating Bakassi. We want to see how the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development can support PAMOL to extend its oil palm plantations to Bakassi.

Education is on-going especially in Akwa where there is a lot of construction work going on in school infrastructure. Health facilities are everywhere as well as health personnel. With help of the Circle of Friends of Cameroon, CERAC, last year, we carried a lot of medication and hospital equipment like beds to the Bakassi Zone.

What challenges did the different reports highlight during the meeting?

Prominent amongst challenges is delay in the award of public contracts. Even when the public contracts are awarded, usually in the months of March or May, rains start before the money is disbursed. Before rains end, it is the month of December. Solutions proposed included convincing the Ministry of Public Contracts to award the contracts early enough and suggesting to the Ministry of the Economy to give more mutually-agreed contracts if the money is available instead of letting the process go through the public procurement system. By so doing, it will be easy for contractors to get their money to start work. Because of the rains, we have only three months of dry season and we do not know if any proper project can be done within three months. The other challenge is transportation of material. Because of these rains, materials cannot be transported through the roads or through the water because it is expensive.

2016 is nigh. What are the priorities envisaged?

We will continue to insist that the projects should be done properly by the various ministries because they do not have time to execute the projects. Next year, we will have about FCFA 2 billion from the various ministries. More construction work is envisaged especially on fishermen lodging projects. At this moment, over a hundred lodging facilities are available for fishermen because most of them come from the northern part of the country. When these lodgings will be completed, we will have more of other Cameroonian fishermen settling in the area especially around New Beach where the houses are already being constructed. Besides extending PAMOL plantations, we are thinking of setting up the large scale cultivation of Okro and pineapples because the area is fertile especially in Isangele and Akwa where we have the mainland.

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