10.22.2015

Imperative Maturation of Projects!

Résultat de recherche d'images pour "Imperative Maturation of Projects! cameroon" By Godlove BAINKONG, Cameroon Tribune
When the Head of State urged the October 2, 2015 government during the last Council of Ministers meeting to pay special attention to project maturation and to be more diligent and judicious in the use of the available financing; it sounded like galvanizing troops for victory on a battle front.
 Indeed it was, given the challenges
the country goes through amidst already defined development objectives - targeting a middle-income economy status by 2035.
Laying emphasis on project maturation and the need to step up the rate of consuming credits, to say the least, must not have been for nothing. At least observers of the country’s economy for some time now would agree that the public contracts sector has been gripped by poor or slow execution of projects.  With the advent of the result-based programme budget, that fully went operational on January 1, 2013, public officials involved in public investment projects have not stopped decrying incessant low consumption of credits. Immaturity of projects is largely to blame, alongside the bad faith and corrupt practices of some vote holders. 
The Head of State’s wake-up call, was in essence, bluntly confronting an old problem that year in year out haunts the public contracts sector, stalling in no small way effective project execution and, by extension, socio-economic development. The quintessence of what has been observed by many across the board is that projects inscribed in the project’s logbook in the country are not technically and financially realistic. Technically, studies are supposed to be carried out to determine what material to be used for what project whose site must equally be known in advance. If it is a road or other civil engineering works for example, there is an absolute need for geotechnical studies done to know the soil type so as to determine what material to use and the dosage. Meanwhile, financial studies entail determining how much the project will cost and probably where the funds could come from.
Making available this vital information before the project is programmed for execution at least gives some guarantee that it could be executed. It also makes way for better follow up by the controller. Above all, the feasibility studies are also supposed to be done after the needs of the population have been sought. This will avert taking projects to where they are not needed and depriving certain localities of some life-changing projects. The absence of these studies and the immaturity of programmed projects allow for money allocated for such projects to stay in the coffers of government or donor agencies while beneficiary population languishes in underdevelopment and abject poverty.
As this confusion thrives, some funding is hard to come by and scarce resources are poorly used. Reason why the Head of State enjoined the new government to strive to do more with limited resources. Take the case where a contractor carries out studies in course of projects execution. The tendency is that he spends the limited money on other things than the project or that he comes across certain realities that were not considered at takeoff. Here, either he depends entirely on what is left; dispersing quality; or he abandons the project. In the two cases, the population suffers as, it is served with cosmetic roads for instance, that deteriorate even before government receives them or immediately thereafter. Worse still, they may see their dreams of journeying out of under development completely dashed.
The amount of money allocated in the State budget for public investments has been increasing over the years. It moved from FCFA 1,000 billion in 2014 to FCFA 1,150 billion in 2015. It may further increase in 2016. With the first three years of the triennial programme budget (2013-2015) almost over, it is imperative to turn a new page.  Drafting projects to benefit from this money should not in any way serve as a stumbling block. Development depends on the quality of feasibility studies carried out for growth projects.

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