By Boris Esono (Buea-Cameroon)
Economic operators have been urged to shun the phenomenon of “ghost towns” and to pay state taxes so as to get a much higher execution rate of the public investment budget, PIB.
SW Governor Bernard Okalia Bilai made the call January 10 in Buea during the launching of the 2019 state budget for the South West Region.
In his address, SW Governor said there is a need for more decentralization which can only work by paying taxes. He added that: “the population of the region should expect from their elected officials and their various government delegates to provide them with social amenities like portable water, farm-to-market roads and some basic health facilities”. “…. I call on the SDOs, Divisional delegates service heads, mayors and stakeholders to be more professional. We are calling on municipal authorities to submit their financial reports to the Divisional finance controllers for a better followup”.
Speaking to the press shortly after the launch, Governor Okalia Bilai said: “let the economic operators stop to observe this phenomenon of” ghost town”. Until economic activities will be functioning as 2 to 3 years back, we will not execute the state budget conveniently. You cannot execute the state budget when economic operators are closing their businesses everyday to observe “ghost town” and projects too cannot takeoff”.
“The administrators should choose the best partners when it comes to choose contractors to move around to collect taxes and to avoid corruption” he added.
Statistics presented showed that showed that in 2018, the SWR was allocated eighteen billion, nine hundred and fifty three million, nine hundred and fifty three thousand, three hundred and seven (18, 953, 953, 307) FCFA while the global execution rate of the PIB stands at 64%. Financial execution rate is at 97% for recurrent budget while financial investment is at 61% execution.
To Buinda Godlove, the low execution rate is understood by everyone that “we are leaving in a precarious environment”. “We are leaving in a situation where insecurity is a major issue and that is why we had to launched projects severally because bidders were not available to go to areas where it was so difficult”.
“In fact even Fako which we thought would have a 100% execution rate, we had challenges in areas like Muyuka. So that is why we had a low execution rate due to insecurity”.
Patrice Limumba Mboh, DAG, MINFI on his part said: “the budget has seen a little drop; while those for investment has dropped, that for functioning has increased. This is because of the context we are presently going through (Anglophone crisis). Statistics last year showed that the investment budget was not executed at a satisfactory rate and this has been taken in to consideration”.
“Our mission is to accompany the various stakeholders so that we can look forward to a better execution rate this year” he added.
According to the financial document for this year, the SWR was allocated fourteen billion, one hundred and two million, seven hundred and eighty one thousand, eight hundred and seventy eight (14, 102, 781, 878) FCFA, representing a decrease in the PIB from 2018 while recurrent budget has increased.