It is to answer this question that the fourth (4th) edition of the Regional Seminar on Budget Transparency in Sub-Saharan Francophone Africa was held at the Star Land Hotel in Bastos Yaounde.
The Minister of Finance, Louis PAUL MOTAZE, chaired the opening ceremony that took place on Wednesday, 25 January 2023. He was accompanied by the Head of the European Union Delegation, Mr. Philippe van Damme, as well as the representative of the President of the Audit Bench of the Supreme Court, Mrs. FOFUNG Justine NABUM.
Another seminar of less significance? Far from it! The organizers believe that the issue of budgetary transparency has become sufficiently important for public financial governance following the various economic crises that have occurred over the last 20 years and their impact on the public finances of countries… . It would be unhealthy to think that the conclave, which started today in, the Cameroonian capital is not worth its weight in gold.
In his opening speech, His Excellency Louis PAUL MOTAZE recalled, quite appropriately, the important place of accountability in public finance management. “The control and audit of public expenditure constitute a major challenge to ensure the reliability of information, to enable citizens, Parliament and any other actor in the accountability process to demand proper management of public resources’’. To better ensure this control, MINFI insists, “the publication of reliable budgetary and financial information appears essential, particularly with regard to liabilities likely to durably affect the sustainability of public finances and compromise the implementation of future public policies”.
A point that will be supported by Mrs. CIGDEM Aslan, Head of Division of the Public Finance Department of the IMF. “The public administration must be held accountable for the way it manages the public resources that are the common property of all citizens,” she said. This partly explains why the theme of this fourth edition of the seminar focuses on control and audit.
In the same vein, the seminar also focuses on the governance of these audits/controls, the conditions necessary for their efficient conduct, notably their independence and the follow-up to their recommendations.
With the support of the European Union and under the aegis of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), this seminar aims to “exchange on central themes of public finance management and constitutes a discussion forum to identify persistent weaknesses in budget transparency; share solutions and good experiences implemented by countries; and engage in a dialogue with external actors such as civil society, donors, NGOs, in order to support the efforts undertaken.
This high-level meeting brings together authorities from nineteen (19) sub-Saharan French-speaking countries from the auditing jurisdictions, general state inspectorates, general finance inspectorates, general directorates of the Treasury and public accounting, general directorates of the budget, the Parliament and civil society. The richness of the topics discussed on this first day bodes well for the quality and enthusiasm of the work to come.
This is within the framework of the workshop on the presentation of the 2021 results of the Open Budget Survey (OBS) for Cameroon coupled with the review of the follow-up of the recommendations of the African workshop on the national integrated financing framework which opened on 19 January 2023 at the Djeuga Palace Hotel in Yaounde. It will run to 20 January 2023.
The aim of the workshop is to improve Cameroon’s score in the various evaluations of its Public Finance Management system. This is the aim of the meeting which was opened this morning by Mrs. Sophie BOUMSONG, Head of Division for Budgetary Reform. In the presence of the representative of the Audit Bench of the Supreme Court, the representative of UNICEF, officials of the various administrations directly involved in the preparation and monitoring of the State budget and civil society, the objective of this meeting is ” to boost the strengthening of the national strategy on budget transparency “, said Mrs. Sophie BOUMSONG in her introductory remarks.
It is for this reason that the Government, through certain rating institutions, carries out regular evaluations of its public finance management system. As part of this process, the results of the latest assessment by the International Budget Partnership (IBP) for the Open Budget Survey (OBS) were published in 2022. The IBP assesses the public financial management system on the basis of three criteria: transparency, public participation and budgetary control. For this eighth edition of its report, Cameroon’s score, although below the average of 50/100, has seen an overall progression of 06 points.
Indeed, with regard to transparency, Cameroon has a score of 34/100. This criterion assesses the online availability, timeliness and completeness of eight key budget documents. In 2019, this score was 28/100. The country’s performance is justified by the online publication of the Citizen Budget and the increase in information provided in the executive’s draft budget.
In terms of public participation, the country scored 11/100. This is an evaluation of the possibilities offered to the public for meaningful participation in the various stages of the budgetary process. In this regard, Cameroon has instituted pre-budget deliberations during the formulation of the budget, as well as national, regional, divisional and council monitoring committees during its execution.
Finally, with regard to budgetary control, the country has an average score of 33/100. The report notes that ‘the legislature and the supreme audit institution of Cameroon together exercise weak control during the budgetary process’.
The resolutions of this workshop should therefore enable Cameroon ” to improve its actions in the direction of transparency in budget management ” in order to ” allow citizens to have a clear idea of the budget, its design, implementation and monitoring-evaluation ” said Mrs. Sophie BOUMSONG. In addition, it will be a question of mapping the strengths, threats, opportunities and weaknesses of Cameroon’s public finance management system.
To achieve this, during the two days of work, exchanges will be nourished around the ” practice of transparency in public finance management in Cameroon “, ” the presentation of the National Integrated Financing Framework “; ” the presentation of the main conclusions and recommendations of the African workshop on the National Integrated Financing Framework ” and ” the use and information of budgetary data dissemination tools”.
As part of the harmonisation of good practices in public finance, the Government has shown its willingness to align itself with international standards in this area, by adopting Law No. 2018/011 of 11 July 2018 on the Code of Transparency and Good Governance in the management of public finances in Cameroon. The said code notes ” the obligation to inform the public through various necessary channels, in order to make budgetary information accessible “. Cameroon is among the 120 countries in the world that have subscribed to submit the management of its public finance system to the Open Budget Survey (OBS).
They were presented during the official launch ceremony presided over by Finance Minister Louis Paul Motaze on 16 January 2022 in Douala.
With a total budget of 6345.1 billion against 6080.4 billion in 2022, the budget of Cameroon records an increase of 264.7 billion in absolute value and 4.4% in relative value. Although the start of the 2022 budget execution was somewhat slowed down due to the consequences of the entry into force of the new budgetary nomenclature and the State accounting plan on the State’s budgetary and accounting management applications (PROBMIS and PATRIMONY), it must be emphasised that the machine now seems to be better oiled
In 2023, the government’s action will be fundamentally focused on two pillars, namely: budgetary policy for the 2023 financial year and reporting and control of budget execution. Generally speaking, the budget policy for the 2023 fiscal year focuses on optimising the mobilisation of tax, customs and non-tax revenues.
According to the Minister of Finance, the government’s action will be geared towards improving the competitiveness and productivity of the economy, fighting inflation, protecting the social strata against high living costs, continuing the implementation of Universal Health Coverage, as well as health monitoring as part of the fight against epidemics and pandemics, particularly COVID-19, which unfortunately continues to be rampant. It will also be a question of strengthening the disarmament-demobilisation-reintegration process and continuing the reconstruction of the North-West, South-West and Far-North Regions, as the security situation is relatively under control throughout the country. In addition, the Government has set itself the objective of intensifying the implementation of decentralisation in order to give the regional and local authorities the means to make a decisive contribution to the revival of our economy.
It is, in plain English, the simplified version of the finance law for the year 2023. Designed for the general public, in a language devoid of any technicality in French and English, the document is available and downloadable on the website of the Directorate General of Budget. This publication highlights the data and information useful for determining the State budget, the resources and expenses, as well as certain expenditures that are usually the object of particular interest on the part of the population.
The Citizen Budget 2023 is structured around: 1) the economic hypotheses used to draw up the budget; 2) the budgetary process; 3) revenue collection; 4) allocation and expenditure priorities; 5) new measures; 6) major investment projects; 7) decentralization; and 8) gender budgeting.
“As part of the implementation of public finance management reforms, the government has made a commitment to base public policy management on principles of transparency, performance and strengthening the quality of public services,” explains the Minister of Finance, Louis PAUL MOTAZE, in the foreword to this 48-page pamphlet.
Since 2019, the Government has made a commitment to publish the citizen budget every year. This publication makes it possible to guarantee, to a non-initiated public, (to citizens), access to budgetary information enshrined in the provisions of Law N°2018/011 of 11 July 2018 on the Code of transparency and good governance in the management of public finances in Cameroon.
In general, in its philosophy and in line with circular (N°001 of 23 August 2022) relating to the preparation of the State Budget for the fiscal year 2023, the State budget is drawn up to enable the implementation of the Government’s National Development Strategy 2020-2030 (NDS30) to continue. This involves improving the living conditions of the population, the proper functioning of state services, the reduction of inequalities between men and women (gender issues), as well as the improvement of the business environment, thus enabling the private sector to develop and create jobs.
In a circular signed on 30 December 2022, the Minister of Finance (MINFI), Mr. Louis PAUL MOTAZE, gave the main guidelines on the execution of the finance law for the 2023 budgetary year.
At the outset, MINFI recalls the context in which the 2023 budget law is being implemented. Indeed, at the national level, the priority is to continue the implementation of the National Development Strategy 2020-2030 (NDS30) and the Economic and Financial Programme concluded with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in July 2021. In addition, attention will be paid to the finalization and commissioning of the remaining major first-generation projects and the continued preparation of second-generation projects. This is without forgetting the fragility of social cohesion, which must be consolidated through the decentralization process, the pursuit of the import-substitution policy and the construction of regions affected by the security crises, particularly those of the North West, South West and Far North.
After this reminder of the national context, the country is experiencing the negative externalities of the international turmoil, which is having a strong impact on its budget execution. These include the Russian-Ukrainian crisis, which leads to constant fluctuations in the price of oil and shocks to energy and food prices, “thus accentuating pressure on public finances’’.
In this respect, “the 2023 budget law aims at reducing the budget deficit by 0.8 percentage points, from 1.9% of GDP in 2022 to 1.1% in 2023. In this perspective, the objective will be to maintain the debt rate at 45% of GDP for the 2021-2023 period, below the threshold of 70% of GDP set by the CEMAC,” MINFI said. To achieve this, coherence between the pace of expenditure and revenue collection should be ensured through planning and anticipation of expenditure.
The Minister of Finance is therefore calling on all public administration officials, the managers of Public Enterprises and Establishments (EEP), the Heads of Regional and Local Authorities (RLA), the Managers of projects and programs and those ranking as such, and the officials in charge of Control bodies, to “mobilize collaborators under their authority in view of the stakes, challenges and objectives inherent in the efficient and harmonious execution of public budgets on the account of the 2023 fiscal year”.
On 27 December 2022, the President of the Republic, His Excellency Paul Biya, promulgated the Settlement Law of the Republic of Cameroon for the year 2021.
Indeed, the settlement law is the law of recognition of the last executed finance law.
Consult the settlement law 2021
On Tuesday 27 December 2022, the President of the Republic, His Excellency Paul Biya promulgated Cameroon’s finance law for the year 2023. The State budget for the year 2023 in resources and uses at 6345,100,000,000 billion CFA francs of which 6274,800,000,000 CFA francs for the general budget and 70,300,000,000 CFA francs for the special accounts.
Consult the 2023 finance law here for more details
The government has just tabled the Cameroon Finance Bill for the year 2023 for consideration by Parliament. The State budget is balanced in terms of resources and charges at CFAF 6 345.1 billion against CFAF 6 080.4 billion in 2022, an increase of CFAF 264.7 billion, representing a rate of 4.4% compared to 2022. The general budget amounts to CFAF 6,274.8 billion, while that of the special allocation accounts is CFAF 70.3 billion compared to CFAF 102.7 billion, due to the withdrawal of the S.A.C. previously earmarked for financing the fight against COVID 19. The increase recorded by the general budget is 297.1 billion (+5%) compared to fiscal year 2022 when it stood at CFAF 5 977.7 billion.
This budget has been drawn up in a context marked by the slowdown in global economic growth, which is projected to be 2.7% in 2023 at the international level. Inflation is expected to fall to 6.5% as a result of the disinflationary monetary policies implemented by central banks. The same decrease is expected in the CEMAC zone, where the rate is projected at 3.3%
At the national level, the drafting of this bill was based on several factors, notably on macroeconomic projections. These are based on a growth rate of 4.2% against 3.7% in 2022, despite the contraction of activity in the oil sector. Inflation will remain under control at 3% against 4.6% in 2022.
Overall, internal revenue and grants are projected at CFAF 4 676.4 billion, an increase of CFAF 453.3 billion compared to the 2022 rectifying finance law, where they stood at CFAF 4 223.2 billion, an increase of 10.7% in relative value. These revenues are as follows: CFAF 807 billion for oil and gas revenues; CFAF 3 528.1 billion for tax and customs revenues; CFAF 250.4 billion for tax revenues and CFAF 91 billion for grants. General budget expenditure, excluding debt, is estimated at CFAF 4 536.1 billion, including interest on the debt. They are up by 118.7 billion, or 2.7% in relative value compared to the 2022 fiscal year.
Among other innovations, this bill provides for the creation of a special allocation account to support the reconstruction of regions affected by the security crisis. This account will be financed to the tune of 15 billion CFA francs. The other innovation is the introduction of a specific annex on budgetary risks. Also, the legal framework relating to the mobilisation of certain service revenues will be revised.
In addition, it should be noted that the price of stamps will be increased from 1000F to 1500F. New tariffs are also envisaged for the residence permit and resident card. To this end, the stamp duty for the residence card issued to students is set at 50,000 francs; that of workers under contract with the State or a local public authority will be stamped at 75,000 francs; the stamp duty for nationals of African countries and their renewals is 150,000 francs, while the stamp duty for nationals other than Africans is 300,000 francs, compared to the current 250,000 francs.
For two weeks now some Ministries (MINFI, MINEPAT, MINESUP, MINSANTE, MINEPIA, MINADER, MINTSS, MINPROFF) in collaboration with GIZ, under the Support Programme for the Modernisation of Public Finances, have been working prior to the workshop on the sharing of experiences and best practices of the network of management control coordinators.
The first scoping meeting chaired by Madam ENI Emmaculate, coordinator of the programme PAMFIP, was held on the 10th of November 2022 at the «cluster bonne gouvernnance» hall of GIZ. The aim of this meeting was to examine and validate the terms of reference, to identify and collect information to ameliorate the contents, to define the agenda as well as necessary documents.
It is on this basis that, a second preparatory workshop is presently taking place at UNITED hotel Mbankomo, under the chairmanship of Mr ONDOA Frédéric, Head of the Training and Information Systems Unit at the Department of Budgetary Reforms, to examine and validate all improved contents prior to the workshop scheduled for December 2022.
It was decided that the workshop to share experiences and best practices of the network of management control coordinators will take place in Yaounde for three (03) days. This occasion will bring together thirty eight (38) management control coordinators from various ministries. Discussions will focus on generalities and tools of management control, sharing of experiences on result-based management in the context of program budget as well as the institutional framework of gender sensitive budgeting.
Within the framework of the on-going debt confirmation operation, the Minister of Finance recalls that as a result of the relatively low participation of creditors in producing the additional documents required for the processing of their pre-selected files, an appropriate mechanism has been put in place in the premises of his ministry in Yaounde Block A, in order to allow latecomers to catch up.
In this regard, the deadline for the operation is extended to December 9, 2022 at 3 p.m., after which claims that would not have been confirmed will be considered and declared definitively rejected. The required documents, the lists of creditors concerned and the files that have been definitively rejected can be consulted at the Regional Finance Control Offices, as well as on the websites www.minfi.gov.cm and www.dgb.cm.