8.04.2014

Cameroon's 2015 Budget to Centre on Growth, Job Creation

By Godlove BAINKONG, Cameroon Tribune, 04-08-2014
Presidential orientations contained in an August 2, 2014 circular guides on its preparations.
The 2015 State budget which will be the last for the first three years of the results-based triennial programme budget (2013-2015) should lay more emphasis on accelerating socio-economic growth and job creation, the Head of State, President Paul Biya, has prescribed.
According to a presidential circular addressed to Members of Government and Regional Governors on how the budget should be prepared, the 2015 State budget should be based on a continual plan to put in place policies to spearhead the socio-economic, political and cultural development of the country contained in the Growth and Employment Strategy Paper.
Its Economic Context
The Head of State in the circular underlines that the preparation of the 2015 State budget should take into consideration the national and international economic environment. This is notably the rebound in global economies. Going by projections of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), global economies could grow from 3 per cent in 2013 to 3.6 per cent in 2014 and 3.9 per cent in 2015. Meanwhile, vote holders must not lose sight of persistent economic difficulties of the Euro zone and the crisis in the Middle East. But brighter economic prospects in the country, the presidential circular underlines, with a projected economic growth of 6 per cent supported largely by the petroleum sector should serve as a spur to preparing a budget that could trigger an average economic growth rate of 6.3 per cent between 2015-2017. The Head of State stipulates that all should be done to maintain inflation at below 3 per cent.
What Goals?
The circular notes therefore that the budget should focus on viable means to speed up economic growth, the standards of living of the population as well as reinforce the competitiveness of the country’s economy. “The 2015 budget should consolidate the achievements of the programme budget in its preparation, presentation and discipline in its execution,” the circular notes.  The budget should as a matter of fact target an all inclusive economy, strong and sustainable; notably through the improvement of the country’s productivity and its diversification likewise its trade partners. 
The budget should also be such that respects the calendar for the execution of development projects, source for financing projects contained in the emergency plan and take off preparations for an effective agricultural mechanization in the country. Access of farmers to improved seedlings and farm inputs and an improved processing of agricultural products will not be the least of issues that the 2015 State budget should focus on.
The budget, the Head of State stipulates, should also lay emphasis on improved performance of the public investment budget, improve the business climate to encourage private investment and embrace better strategies to improve revenue collection and public spending.
The Programmes
Being a continuation of the results-based management budget (programme budget) which went operational in 2013, the 2015 programmes and projects are expected to consolidate the achievements of 2013 and 2014 and seek ways of righting wrongs encountered thus far. In respect of Law No. 2007/006 of December 26, 2007 relating to the Fiscal Regime of the State, the budget is expected to bring out ministerial and sector-by-sector strategies based on the Growth and Employment Strategy Paper. Programmes are expected to be clearly spelt out, their objectives well defined for amounts to be allocated to them. Here, budgetary discipline is to be reinforced. As such, cost of programmes should be rigorously evaluated. 
Government, the Head of State underlines, should continue with energy, transport and telecommunications infrastructure development for the growth of the economy and wellbeing of the population.
What Vote Holders Must Know
Each ministry, by the Presidential circular, must set aside a line in its budget for preliminary studies to justify the maturation of projects to be financed as well as for the drawing up of contract award documents for the projects. The administration will also need to ensure that priority for 2015 public investment budget is given to projects which had previously received engagement authorisations and budgeted and whose execution meets standards. This is to avoid project abandonment which most often is blamed on insufficient funds.

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