The government of Cameroon appears resolute, more than ever before, to transform the country’s three-year emergency plan prescribed by the Head of State on December 9, 2014 into visible realisations.
In fact, from December 2014 when the prescriptions were given to October 15, 2015 when the Head of State galvanised the troops, all in Council of Ministers meetings, movements are visible thereon.
In almost all parts of the country, there are moves to give flesh to the plan that touches on urban development, health, agriculture and livestock, road infrastructure, water, energy and security. From every indication, the October 2, 2015 government wants to leave a mark in the development plan that seeks to give a facelift to the country’s socio-economic development.
The Prime Minister Head of Government, Philemon Yang, told the press after the October 15, 2015 Council of Ministers meeting at the State House that the government had taken the 10-11 months gone by since the emergency plan was instituted to organise itself, get the studies done, get the pieces of land available and then do what is necessary. Indeed, some 350 companies have been declared pre-qualified for the execution of the projects. This in other words means that the groundwork for the emergency plan has been laid.
The population is therefore eager and the expectations are legitimate given the contents of the Emergency Plan for the Acceleration of Growth in Cameroon, coupled with the current hardship of the masses. That the Yaounde and Douala General Hospitals as well as the Yaounde University Health Centre will be refurbished and eight hospitals constructed at regional headquarters is no negligible news to the population that wants to stay healthy. Rehabilitating some 232 kilometres of urban roads in Yaounde and Douala, constructing low-cost houses in Bamenda, Buea, Ebolowa and Bafoussam as well as modern slaughter houses in Ngaoundere and four cool houses in Yaounde, Kribi, Ngaoundere and Ebolowa, are to say the least, hope-raising. The least is not the 900 water points and 19 potable water supply projects earmarked in the ten regions, 20 farm-to-market roads; two in each region and the construction of border security posts, 20 for National Security and 18 for the Gendarmerie.
The enthusiasm with which government is going about the projects tells of the aspiration its members have to accompany the Head of State, who got the mandate of the people through an election, to meet the needs of the electors. Giving them the projects outlined in the growth-acceleration plan is good, but ensuring that quality is guaranteed in the execution is better. The time needed to execute the projects shouldn’t in any way be an excuse for low quality.
Neigbouring countries have carried out urgent projects but which are today a reference in the sub region. Sustainability is paramount in the projects as government in dire need of development, but with scarce resources, cannot afford to be doing the same thing every day. For example, civil engineers hold that a paved road has a lifespan of at least 15 years before rehabilitation works are done on it. It would be awful to sell the norms to the dogs in the emergency plan. This same logic holds for all the sectors concerned with the three-year plan.
Coughing out FCFA 925 billion to get the projects executed will not be an easy task for government and her development partners. Even when the financing will be wholly mobilized, it wouldn’t be a gift to government, but a loan that will be paid back some day with interest. Most of the projects selected are those susceptible to generating money to pay back the loan provided they are well executed to yield fruits tomorrow and thereafter. Anything short of efficiency in the projects will be tantamount to indebting the government and drawing back its socio-economic development. The powers that be therefore need to show the visible zeal throughout the projects execution and above all indiscriminately control the different works to ensure that what is executed on the ground ties with the different feasibility studies done.