In accordance with section 85 sub-section 8 of Law No. 2018/012 of July 11, 2018 on the Fiscal Regime of the State and Other Public Entities, which states that “Government shall before Parliament, for information and control purposes, quarterly reports on the execution of the budget in revenue and in expenditure as well as on the implementation of the finance law. These reports shall be made available to the public” and section 36 of the Code of Transparency and Good Governance, which states that “Periodic reports on the budget implementation status shall be published during the year “, the Ministry of Finance has undertaken to produce a mid-term review of budget execution.
This review reports on the status of execution of the 2023 Finance Law as at June 30. As an accountability document, it provides parliamentarians and the public with more information on the management of public funds in 2023. In addition, it helps to establish recommendations that will contribute to the correction of shortcomings noted at mid-term. Ultimately, this document provides MINFI with an analytical tool for regular monitoring of budget execution in a context marked by the quest for greater budgetary discipline.
The mid-year review covers only general budget operations. The data used come from the TABORD at the end of June 2023 produced by the Forecasting Division, based on information from the Autonomous Sinking Fund (CAA), MINEPAT, DGB, DGI, DGD and DGTCFM.
Special themes concern overriding procedures (imprest accounts, cash advances), transferred resources, floating debt and the state of public procurement.
Despite the difficult socio-economic situation throughout the year, the budget execution at the end of December 2022 is characterized by satisfactory results both in the mobilization of resources and in their use for the implementation of public policies.
The State execution budget shows an overall deficit balance of 307.7 billion (1.1% of GDP). This deficit fell by 316.5 billion compared to 2021. The deficit in the primary balance fell by 287.5 billion to stand at 0.4% of GDP against 1.5% in 2021. The ratio of debt service to domestic revenue fell from 33.7% in 2021 to 29.6%. The wage bill to tax revenue ratio stands at 34.7% against 38% in 2021. Since 2017, this is the first time that Cameroon has met this monitoring criterion in the CEMAC zone (ratio below 35%).
Cameroon has met all the quantitative criteria of the program with the IMF at the end of December 2022. It has met two indicative targets out of the four. Cameroon did not meet the indicative targets relating to the ceiling of direct SNH interventions and the net accumulation of domestic arrears.
The execution budget at the end of December 2022 is characterized by a satisfactory level of revenue mobilization, in particular tax revenue, which recorded a good performance. Budgetary resources were realized at 99.9% and expenditures executed at 97.3%.
With regard to domestic revenue, oil revenue and non-oil revenue have an execution rate of 120.8% and 104.4% respectively.
As for the execution of expenditure, it was overall contained within the forecast limit. However, it is also marked by a strengthening of transfers and subsidies (up by 409.8 billion compared to 2021).
By economic nature, capital expenditure represents 23.5% of authorizations, followed by personnel expenditure (21.9%) and transfers and subsidies (21.1%). Recurrent expenditure (excluding debt interest) recorded an execution rate of 108% (compared to 112.8% in 2021), capital expenditure, an execution rate of 90.1% (compared to 81.7% in 2021), and public debt service was executed at 83.3%.
However, some anomalies persist in terms of budget management. These include, among other things, pressure on expenditure (or the persistence of the phenomenon of budget overruns), the fragility of the regional security situation, the weak implementation of public finance reforms and the long payment delays (above the standard in the CEMAC zone of 60 days).
Efforts to recover resources and control operating expenses must be continued to ensure the achievement of the objectives set in the three-year economic and financial program 2021-2024. The same applies to the limitation of abusive recourse to derogatory procedures, the control of floating debt and the methods of execution of FINEX as well as the improvement of financial reporting.
A three-day capacity building seminar organised by the NCPBM on program budget took place at the Yaoundé Conference Centre from 9-11 May 2023.
Chaired by the President of the NCPBM, His Excellency Peter MAFANY MUSONGE, this workshop had as objective to enlighten members of the Commission on the philosophy and procedures of the program budget.
Concretely, this seminar was animated by four experts from the Department of Budget Reforms in the Directorate General of Budget who had as responsibility to present, in English and/or French, the Dynamics of Public Finance Management Reforms, the Basics, purpose and key concepts of program budgeting; the Performance Based Management of Programs; the Budgetary Calendar for Public Institutions, the Presentation of main Budgetary Documents and the Execution of Budgetary Operations by Public Entities.
In addition to the above modules, a presentation on the General Strategy of the Organisation of Administrations: Objectives and Recommendations was done by the Permanent Secretary for Administrative Reforms at the Ministry of Public Service and Administrative Reforms.
Some of the issues raised after the presentations centered on the place of the program manager and the management controller in the organisational chart of ministries, the economic crises of 1973, 1978 and 1988 that affected Cameroon and justified the choice of the program budget, the role of donor organisations in the dynamics of reforms in Cameroon as well as the fear that the single treasury account may lead to hyper centralization of funds that could generate future problems.
Members of the Commission who answered present lauded the initiative to be sensitized on key topical issues of Program Budget. It should be noted that this seminar was graced with so many proposals, sharing of experiences and above all, questions, and answers. All this was done in total conviviality.
The health crisis linked to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic which has been affecting Cameroon since March 2020, like all the countries in Africa and the world, prompted a strong response from the Government, through a Global Response Plan estimated at CFAF 479 billion over three years. Within this framework, Ordinance No. 2020/001 of 03 June 2020 of the President of the Republic, amending and supplementing certain provisions of Law No. 2019/023 of 24 December 2019 to lay down the Finance Law of the Republic of Cameroon for the 2020 financial year, provided for tax relaxation measures, the cost of which was estimated at CFAF 114 billion in 2020, and the creation of a Special Appropriation Account (SAA) called “Special National Solidarity Fund to the fight the Coronavirus and its economic and social impacts” with a budget of CFAF 180 billion, divided into 4 programmes involving 24 ministeries.
Given the importance of this response plan for the health of the population and the national economy, the Audit Bench conducted two (02) audits covering the 2020 financial year. The first report focused on the health response to the crisis by the three ministries most involved, which incurred most of the expenditure of the Special Fund in 2020. The present report focuses on the economic and social response implemented by the other ministries during the same financial year.
This report is the result of the third audit of the Special Fund. This audit was conducted at the request of the Prime Minister, Head of Government and in accordance with the Audit Bench’s programme. It covers the 2021 financial year.
In accordance with Section 86 of Law No. 2018/012 of 11 July 2018 on the Fiscal Regime of the State and other public entities, the Audit Bench focused both on the regularity of the use of public funds, and the performance of public action, that is, its economy, efficiency and effectiveness.
The ceremony of handing over the kits made up of the different formats of the citizen budget to the different civil society organisations took place on Thursday, 23 March 2023 in Mbakomo.
Ten civil society organisations (COSADER, CRADEC, PLANOSCAM, AFROLEADERSHIP, HEGTD, JEUDI DE COTONOU, CRADIF, I-WATCH, ODDPE and GTOG), working in the field of public finance, met with officials from the Ministry of Finance, with the main objective of establishing common strategies for popularizing the citizen budget. The ceremony chaired by Mrs. Sophie BOUMSONG, Head of the Budget Reform Division, had a double connotation. On the one hand, it was a question of presenting to the CSO actors invited the structuring of the citizen budget, its new comic strip version (BD) and their good impregnation, and on the other hand, to refine its popularization strategy. This support from the Ministry of Finance is in line with the orientations of Law No. 2008/011 on the Code of Transparency and Good Governance in the management of public finances in Cameroon (CTBG). This law recommends in its articles 48 and 49 respectively, the regular information of citizens and the development of a summary budget document for the public called Citizen Budget.
In this approach, involving civil society is not a risky choice. Indeed, the actors solicited serve as relays to the target populations according to their respective areas of intervention throughout the country. During 2023, the ten or so equipped CSOs will work with their field partners to disseminate the citizen budget in order to make it accessible and understandable to the public. This initiative aims at “a good appropriation and a good use of the document on the one hand, informing and arousing the support of citizens on the other hand, for a better explanation of the finance law to the general public; a better access to budgetary information in order to arouse the support of citizens to participatory management”, recalled Mrs. Sophie BOUMSONG, Chairperson of the session. On the methodical level, it is a question of meshing the national triangle, particularly with the communes, villages, universities, associations, administrative and traditional authorities, women’s and youth associations, high schools, trade unions, etc.
The Ministry of Finance in collaboration with MINEPAT, MINDDEVEL and several civil society organisations, developed the «Citizen Budget 2023». In its structure, the 2023 Citizen Budget 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) decentralisation; and 8) gender budgeting.
Since 2019, the government has committed to publishing the citizen budget every year. This publication will ensure that the uninitiated public (citizens) have access to budget information.
The Minister of Finance, His Excellency Louis Paul MOTAZE, has just officially launched the 3rd evaluation of Cameroon’s public financial management system according to the Public Expenditure and Financial Accountability (PEFA) methodology. The ceremony was attended by the main administrations involved in this evaluation, Civil Society as well as Technical and Financial Partners.
In setting the scene for this activity, the Minister of Finance (MINFI) recalled the importance of this evaluation in a context where Cameroon is truly committed to modernising its public finance management system. “This review aims at reexamining our public finance management system in depth. It gives us, so to speak, the opportunity to assess the impact of the reforms undertaken over the past five years,” he said.
Taking the floor in his turn, Mr. Patrick ILLING, Representative of the Ambassador, Head of the European Union Delegation (DUE) and Lead TFP, also insisted on the merits of this review. “This repetitive evaluation is therefore important because it will provide a comparative and objective analysis on the impacts and sustainability of all the reform works since 2017, as well as an analysis on the persistent weaknesses in the performance of Cameroon’s public finance management system.
Innovation: gender and climate
Given the new challenges facing states, the PEFA 2023 assessment innovates with two additional modules on climate and gender. “By integrating the climate-sensitive public finance management framework, the review will determine the extent to which Cameroon’s PFM system is capable of supporting and promoting the implementation of government policies relating to climate change** and make adjustments to improve the country’s performance in this area,” MINFI said.
In addition, and with regard to the complementary framework on gender, Louis Paul MOTAZE specified that this review will focus, in addition to the classic questions, on the progress and challenges of the public finance system in Cameroon with regard to the operationalisation of gender budgeting in order to promote gender equality; all of which will make it possible to appreciate the efforts already made by Cameroon as well as the challenges to be taken up in terms of gender.
Method and perspective
After a sensitisation on the 31 PEFA indicators and several exchanges and consultations at a distance, the field mission of five experts started on 27 February and led to a collection of data, which resulted in a provisional report, the object of the work of this Tuesday 07 March 2023 at the Hilton Hotel in Yaoundé. More precisely, it was a question of presenting the provisional scores established on the basis of the information already collected and discussing them in relation to the results of the 2017 PEFA evaluation. In any case, “the official launch of the third review of the public finance management system according to the PEFA methodology was aimed at bringing together Cameroonian authorities to present the provisional picture of the PFM system with a view to clarifying it, if need be, as well as to sensitize stakeholders on the importance of aligning with international standards in public finance,” said Mrs. Sophie BOUMSONG, Head of the Budget Reform Division at the Directorate General of Budget (DGB).
On the methodological level, unlike previous editions, the PEFA 2023 review is conducted using an approach combining a remote inter-action and a field mission. This approach makes it possible to improve data collection, especially for data that can be captured and analysed off-site, while the field mission focuses mainly on possible shortcomings and on confirming the data.
Specifically, the assessment focuses on the state of public finances around the three main objectives of budgetary discipline, strategic resource allocation and efficient delivery of public services. The 2023 PEFA will map the national public finance management system on the basis of some thirty performance indicators that will serve as a basis for assessing the impact of future reforms.
The Cameroonian government is truly committed to aligning its National Public Financial Management System with international standards. Since 2007, the country has subscribed to various international assessments, including the Public Expenditure and Financial Accountability (PEFA) programme. The third PEFA evaluation currently underway in our country is an opportunity to adjust in terms of PFM and to complete the reforms contained in the framework of the Global Public Finance Reform Plan. For Cameroon, it is therefore a proactive and forward-looking approach that aims to optimise public finance management.
To better understand what it is about, it is necessary to first indicate that the PEFA is a tool for evaluating Public Finance Management (PFM). It provides a detailed, systematic and factual analysis of PFM performance over a given period. In addition, PEFA provides a means of assessing the extent to which PFM systems, processes and institutions contribute to the achievement of desirable budgetary outcomes: overall budgetary discipline, strategic allocation of resources and efficiency of service delivery. Seven (07) partners, including the European Commission, the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank and others, established the PEFA Programme.
The Republic of Cameroon submitted itself in 2007 and in 2017, with the support of Technical and Financial Partners (TFPs) to this PEFA logic. The first (2007) helped to define the necessary foundations for public finance reforms in Cameroon, notably through programme-based budgeting (since 2013), and the second (2017) should deepen the reform process, particularly in relation to the implementation of the public finance legal framework adopted in 2018, which internalises the harmonised public finance management framework of the CEMAC in Cameroon.
Since then, several progresses have been recorded in the field of Public Finance Reforms. Without being exhaustive, we can mention the adoption of a State budgetary calendar clearly specifying the main stages of the annual process of preparing the Budget in Cameroon; the holding of the annual Budgetary Orientation Debate (DOB) between the Government and Parliament, as well as the publication calendar of Public Finance statistics; the adoption of a new code of public contracts; the establishment of asset accounting on an accrual basis; the introduction of transparency in the remuneration, allowances and benefits of the directors of public enterprises and establishments; the edition and publication of the citizen budget; the adoption of the law governing statistical activity in Cameroon and its implementing decrees, which clearly indicate the obligation of relevance and impartiality in statistical work, as well as the right of access of all to statistical information; the involvement of Civil Society in the main stages of the budget preparation process as well as in the dissemination of budgetary information; the regular production of State Budget execution reports; the development of Internal Control, particularly the Internal Budgetary and Accounting Control…
The results recorded over the last five (5) years are therefore partly based on the recommendations of the last PEFA evaluation. The operational and institutional framework for the implementation of this series of reforms is the Global Plan for Public Finance Management Reforms. The most recent and ongoing Plan was adopted in 2018 for the three-year period 2019-2021. This Comprehensive Plan, which is in its final year of implementation, has been updated for the period 2021-2023 following the COVID19 crisis in the first quarter of 2020.
In order to maintain the good practices in the area of public finance reforms initiated nearly two decades ago and to optimise the conduct of the present evaluation in our country, it would seem wise to mobilise all stakeholders in public finance management, who provide data for the collection of information and collaboration with the evaluation teams for results in line with the situation of the public finance management system in our country.
The issue of performance and transparency in Cameroon’s public finance management system is part of the implementation process of the National Development Strategy 2020-2030 (NDS30). In order to achieve the objective, it is necessary that the actors in the budgetary chain, who are also actors in performance, take ownership not only of the reforms but also of the modalities for their implementation.
Concerning public institutions in particular, the process of aligning them with Results-Based Management (RBM) led to the adoption of laws n°2017/010 and 011 of 12 July 2017 respectively on the General Statute of Public Institutions and Public Enterprises, replacing law n°99/016 of 22 December 1999 on the General Statute of Administrative Public Institutions and Public and Parapublic Sector Enterprises. With regard to the general status of public establishments, this text introduces important innovations, particularly in the performance-based budget management of these public entities. To this end, Article 7, paragraph 3 specifies that: “the purpose of financial supervision is, on the one hand, to ensure that the management operations with financial implications of public establishments are in accordance with the legislation and regulations on public finance and, on the other hand, to examine their accounts a posteriori”.
Also, in order to effectively play its role in accordance with the reforms introduced by the 2018 laws and their implementation texts, the Division of Participations and Contributions of the DGB, which is among other things in charge of examining the performance projects of public institutions, monitoring their operation and performance or consolidating the budgetary information of the State and those of public institutions, is called upon to strengthen the capacity of its staff to be able to meet the tasks assigned to it.
It is in this perspective that the DGB gathered the staff of the structure from 15 to 17 February 2023, in a framework of reflection on: “the examination of the budgetary documents of the Public Entities”. The work chaired on behalf of the Director General of Budget, by Mrs. Flore Goma, Sub-Director of General Affairs of the DGB, took place based on 06 important modules. These modules focused on the innovations of laws n°2017/010 and 011 of 12 July 2017, respectively on the General Statute of Public Establishments and Public Enterprises.
Various presentations on the NDS30, the process of preparing the performance project of administrations (PPA) and the annual performance report (RAP), the analysis of the PPA, the analysis of the RAP, the reissuing of accounts, the analysis of the administrative account of a public establishment, were the subject of the work. Overall, it emerged that the strategic performance framework of public establishments is subject to an elaboration process based on three main stages, namely: the elaboration of the state of affairs and the diagnosis in a public establishment, the formulation of strategic choices and the breakdown into sub-programmes and activities.
However, since the aim is to provide DGB staff with the theoretical and practical knowledge required for a proper examination and effective analysis of the budgetary documents of the public entities submitted to them, they must take into account:
The modules presented gave participants a clear idea of the dynamics of public finance management reforms and the analysis of budget planning and programming documents. They are now equipped with the strategic performance framework of public institutions, whose development process is based on three (03) main steps, namely: the development of the state of affairs and the diagnosis in a public institution, the formulation of strategic choices and the breakdown into sub-programmes and activities.
Elements, which, when properly analysed and oriented, make it possible to improve budgetary discipline and expenditure, control, and thus ensure better support for Public Entities by the Directorate General of Budget.
The Minister of Finance, His Excellency Louis PAUL MOTAZE, signed on Monday 13 February 2023, the Calendar for the publication of Public Finance Statistics 2023. This is not just a catalogue of intentions. It is the materialisation of a clear will to establish transparency in the management of Public Finances in Cameroon as a central pillar of Governance.
Indeed, since the adoption of the law of 11 July 2018 on the Code of Transparency and Good Governance in the management of public finances (CTBG) in Cameroon, schedules for the publication of public finance statistics have been drawn up, signed, published with rigorous monitoring of their implementation. This document serves as a compass by indicating precisely the documents to be published, the contents, the publication period, the persons responsible and the place of publication. In the midst of an administration undergoing a digital transformation, the preferred channels of dissemination are the websites of the Ministry of Finance (www.minfi.gov.com) and the Directorate General of Budget (www.dgb.cm). However, these documents are generally widely disseminated through other channels in order to reach the various target audiences.
« The publication schedule of public finance statistics commits each administration to participate in budgetary transparency as advocated by the CTBG and the various evaluation agencies of the public finance management system in Cameroon », explains Mrs. MANGA Félicité Linda, Head of the Budgetary Accounts Consolidation Unit of the Budgetary Reform Division.
Let us recall that the Code of Transparency and Good Governance in the management of public finances (CTBG) in Cameroon enjoins the administration to take all necessary measures to publish information on public finances. Section 47 (3) of the said code specifies that « a special text, taken before the beginning of the budgetary year, shall publish the timetable for the dissemination of information ». It is therefore in application of this legal provision that the Minister of Finance has systematised the elaboration and publication of the public finance statistics calendar.
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.