By Cham Victor Bama
Stakeholders involved in the management and execution of the public investment budget in the South West Region have adopted strategies to boost performance in the sector.
Officials of the Public Contracts, Finance and partner Ministries converged in Buea last 7 June 2017 to brainstorm and seek better ways to improve results. Some of the measures adopted to render the public contract award and execution process credible and corruption-free centered on the elimination of unqualified and incompetent contractors, eliminate try-and-error contractors and propose ways to ensure prompt payment of contract bills.
It was pointed out that contractors that fall within this bracket often result to bribery in order to win contracts beyond their strength and execution capacity. To completely avert the situation, the South West Regional Delegate for Public contract in the South West, Kati Alfred, announced that “we are sending the last warning to try-and-error contractors who take contracts without mastering the topology of the terrain”, adding that “I called them charlatans, let them be getting set to go out of the field”. Kati Alfred continued that “gone are those days that works were paid without being realised. This phenomenon promoted abandoned projects which had a toll on the beneficiary population”.
The two-day conference focused on Financing and Execution of Public Contracts; Rules, Challenges and Perspectives. It came out at the end of the conference that the persisting rate of poor quality constructions hindered rural communities and deprived them from benefitting state development drive. Legal frameworks on the procedure and rules of financing public contracts as stipulated in the 2004 decree to lay down the public contract code in Cameroon were reviewed with far-reaching exchanges that will go a long way to instill quality changes in the entire process in the region.
Opening the conference, South West Governor, Bernard Okalia Bilai, told participants that “the forum is a tool set by government to analyze its working strategy, and review objectives to accelerate the sector in order to meet the 2035 emergency deadline set by the Head of State”. To guarantee the fulfillment of the aspirations of all Cameroonians, Governor Okalia Bilai reechoed measures already taken to promote national development from the base which aim at ensuring sustainable economic growth, creating thousands of different jobs, and contributing significantly to the reduction of poverty.
Governor Okalia Bilai outlined major infrastructural projects achieved through the Public Investment Budget scheme in the South West region such as the Kumba-Mamfe road, Limbe, Molyko stadium and its four training stadia, the rehabilitation and upgrading of three hotels, the Kumba-Ekondo Titi-Mundemba-Akwa road among other key projects.
“Each and every one of you must play a unique role to make commendable projects and contribute to the wellbeing of the population,” Governor Okalia Bilai said.
He enjoined stakeholders to “show good quality of work, effective control and follow-up in the execution of public contracts”, continuing that “we are therefore behind schedule and have to go extra mile to speed up the process.
The peculiarity of the 2017 public investment budget stakeholders as explained by the South West regional delegate of Public contracts, Kati Alfred, emanates from the fact that “we realised that the dichotomy which exist between the financing and execution of public contracts, we need to review and factor out the problem because there have been a low execution rate, they complain of lack of money, no financing, late payment of bills and so on”.
“We are expecting that there should be renewed confidence with contractors in other to eliminate fears that they cannot pre finance works and be rest assured that the works will be paid”, Kati said.