The update of the PFMP (Public Finance Modernization Plan) is in line with the activities already initiated for PFM reforms since 2000. The process has been accelerated with the adoption of the NRFE (New Fiscal Regime of the State) in 2007 and the preparation of its effective application by 1 January 2013. The guidelines adopted for the update of the PMFP are to consolidate the achievements of the reforms undertaken and strengthen the foundations necessary to sustainably improve public financial management in line with international best practices. The CEMAC guidelines provide guidance for this update and will require an adaptation of the New Financial Regime on certain aspects, although the operationalization of the NRFE remains a strong orientation of the revised PMFP.
Ownership of the reform by the various stakeholders remains an important issue. Some operational structures or branches have implemented relevant reform activities although they have not been integrated into the PSMP. It will be necessary to ensure that the directorates’ action plans are consistent with the PMFP, which will facilitate the monitoring and closer monitoring of the reform. The new plan must be able to focus on essential reform activities and not disperse the efforts and resources available. On the other hand, the action plans of the structures and stakeholders should take over the activities of the PMFP. Indeed, the PMFP is a unifying framework for reforms in the field of public finances.
In order not to disrupt the momentum of the budgetary reform already under way, the maintenance of the 10 axes (each axis comprising several components) has been proposed, sometimes with new components such as harmonisation with the CEMAC directives. As for the general and specific objectives, they have been maintained and the expected results specified
Priority 1: Planning – programming – budgeting
This priority deals with activities related to strengthening planning, programming and budgeting procedures and aims to improve the medium-term visibility of budgetary balances (through the development of CBMT and CDMT tools) and strengthen the effectiveness of public action in the implementation of sectoral (or ministerial) strategies reflecting the national strategy (DSCE).
Actions under this priority include:
the development of a macroeconomic and budgetary framework model as well as the definition of the institutional framework for its implementation;
the establishment of a budget preparation schedule consistent with CEMAC directives;
the updating of the NRFE according to CEMAC guidelines;
the establishment of a multiannual budgetary programming framework to implement public policy strategies consistent with the DSCE;
the adoption of a budget nomenclature in accordance with CEMAC directives;
the structuring of the budget into programs from 2013 and the implementation of a program-based budget management;
performance monitoring: performance project annexed to the finance law and annual performance report annexed to the regulations law.
Priority 2: Revenue and taxation
The objective of this priority is to contribute to increasing the State’s capacity to intervene by increasing its own revenue through improving tax and customs efficiency and optimizing non-tax revenues. It will apply to tax and customs administrations and to all public administrations. Revenue administrations are increasingly called upon to increase their efforts to increase public resources as a result of the steady decline in oil revenues27. This axis will be monitored through the indicator “the rate of increase in non-oil revenues”.
The main actions under this priority include
- Increasing the mobilization of tax revenue, including further segmentation of taxpayer management, making the registration system more reliable and increasing the number of taxpayers, removing tax niches, etc.
- Securing and improving customs revenue: popularizing customs regulations and improving user information; optimizing post-clearance controls and the fight against fraud; reducing customs clearance times; setting up a system of authorized operators, etc.
- Securing the payment of revenue from treasury services by computerizing the collection points and strengthening control and audit activities;
- The implementation of a modern information system in the DGI through the implementation of an integrated tax management application, the strengthening of the network and intranet infrastructure and the monitoring of existing applications and interfacing with other financial administrations;
- Improving the quality of service by improving and simplifying tax legislation and making it easier to understand, improving the conditions under which taxpayers are received, and creating and strengthening institutional consultation frameworks with socio-professional organizations;
- Strengthening customs governance and the regulation of economic activity through the dematerialization of procedures and the strengthening of the customs department police.
Priority 3: External financing
This priority should promote the alignment of aid management with national procedures and a better matching of aid to needs. National authorities must therefore develop a mechanism to monitor the TFPs’ commitments to grant aid.
Comprehensive information on planned and actual external financing must be sought and centralized at the CAA, MINFI and MINEPAT for integration into budget reports (State budget, budget monitoring reports, TOFE, etc.).
Priority 4: Execution of the budget in terms of expenditure
The objective of this priority is to strengthen the administration’s capacity to implement the budget in accordance with the provisions of the regulations. This leads, first of all, to an audit of the expenditure chain to detect weaknesses to be corrected, to amend the implementing rules provided for in the NRFE in line with the CEMAC directives (rules on transfers, carryovers of appropriations, fungibility of appropriations) and to update the text on the nomenclature of supporting documents for expenditure.
This priority should also make it possible to prepare and make public the infra-annual and year-end financial statements in order to promote good management and control of the management of the State budget. These financial statements include the general balance of accounts, budgetary revenue, budgetary expenditure and transactions on the special accounts of the Treasury as well as a TOFE. During the course of budgetary implementation, these statements shall be prepared and published at least quarterly.
The public procurement management system is an essential component of public expenditure management. As a result, the institutional reform relating to the creation of MINMAP poses serious challenges that must be met very quickly in order to properly implement the budget. It is necessary to be able to strengthen the capacities of new actors in the procurement chain and to better articulate the relationships between these new actors and the contracting authorities, who are the sectoral ministries, in order to avoid conflicts that can lengthen the expenditure cycle. It is also important to avoid disempowering sectoral ministries. Such a disempowerment would not be in favor of the logic of performance that is the rationale for the current reform.
The following actions are also required to optimize the procedures for implementing budget expenditure:
- the integration of procurement processes into the integrated public financial management system;
- capacity building in the development of comprehensive procurement plans (including expenditure under purchase orders and letters of order) and expenditure commitment plans by project owners and their consolidation by MINFI, the commitment plan being a mandatory annex to the Finance Act according to the new CEMAC guidelines;
- an improvement in the professionalism of procurement actors to prevent risks to integrity in public procurement.
- Strengthening the institutional and legal framework for public procurement to ensure accountability and control
Priority 5 Public accounting
The objective of this priority is to strengthen the DGTCFM’s capacity to produce high-quality financial statements (in-year and annual) and to ensure that the deadlines for budget implementation reports produced during the year and annual financial statements (see priority 4 above) are met, and to ensure the regularity and timeliness of reconciliation operations.
It should also contribute to the modernization of public accounting by promoting the transition from cash to accrual accounting. The updating of the RGCP and the development of the accounting framework are carried out under this axis.
The main actions of this priority include:
- the improvement of the modified cash base General Accounting;
- the preparation of accrual accounting;
- the training of accountants and the changeover;
- the operationalization of departmental treasuries
Priority 6 Cash management and debt
This priority deals with improving cash and debt management and has as its main objectives to minimize the costs of financing the periodic gap, strengthen public debt monitoring and rationalize the opening of government accounts with various banks. Budgetary regulation must be based on commitments in order not to accumulate new arrears. To do this, the cash flow plan must be linked to the commitment plan, which must take into account the payment history associated with these commitments. Thus, the DGB will prepare the budget commitment plan after consultation with the sectoral ministries, which must communicate their procurement and commitment plans and the rate of payments associated with these plans. Cash flow and commitment plans should be announced in advance to sectoral ministries to facilitate their budget management. These documents must be available from the first day of each financial year so as not to leave the State without budgetary visibility. They must therefore be prepared before the beginning of the financial year. They will be subject to any adjustments made during budget implementation. The following box provides some guidelines for the development of cash management instruments.
The priority actions focus on the following points: the further centralization of public resources in the Single Treasury Account (STC); the computerization of treasury management; the preparation of the monthly annual treasury plan including a commitment plan 31 in order to be able to carry out budgetary regulation on the basis of commitments on the basis of foreseeable resources; the interconnection of the treasury IT module with that relating to budget management; the development of an IT module for debt sustainability analyses; and an interface between the debt management software and other public finance management IT tools.
Priority 7 Internal and external control
This priority deals with measures to modernize public financial control with a view to making ministries more accountable. INTOSAI defines public financial control, through the Lima Declaration, as “an essential element of a regulatory system that aims to report deviations from the standard or violations of the principles of legal compliance and efficiency in a timely manner, the effectiveness and economy of financial management so that corrective action can be taken in each case, the liability of the parties involved can be clarified, compensation can be obtained or measures can be taken to prevent, or at least make it more difficult, to commit such acts. Internal control of public finances, whether a priori or a posteriori, is essential to safeguard public funds. At present, this control is only weakly carried out because of the limited capacities of the structures in charge of it. The capacities of these structures should be strengthened to ensure that they play their rightful role. There are some overlapping missions and a lack of coordination between the internal or external audit bodies, although the audit function is still weak. There is a need for rationalization and coordination of the control system, also with a view to preparing the harmonization of the public financial control system with INTOSAI best practices and CEMAC guidelines. The following box summarizes the new responsibilities and organizations of financial control and accounting control of expenditure recommended by the CEMAC directive on finance laws.
Priority 8 Human Resources Management and payroll control
This priority contributes to controlling the number of employees and the wage bill in the public service. The authorities intend to continue the actions underway or planned and aimed at the modernization and efficiency of the Public Service through the improvement of the institutional framework, the fine-tuning of administrative management procedures and the promotion of good governance.
Pay statements must be regularly controlled by departmental officials. Procedures for updating and consistency of personnel and pay files must be established and applied.
This axis will be based on the following priority actions:
- The acquisition and implementation of an integrated computer system for career and pay management for public servants;
- Budgeting the wage bill according to the classification by function and program;
- The evaluation of the current human resources management system and the definition of a forward-looking management policy for staff, jobs and the wage bill, including capacity building;
Priority 9 Public financial management information system
This axis deals with the implementation and improvement of an integrated public financial management information system. The objective of this system is to provide decision-makers and public sector managers with the necessary elements to support decisions as quickly as possible. In principle, it should integrate all dimensions of public financial management to reduce red tape and administrative errors. To do this, it must be organized in such a way that a data is only entered once and can be followed from one administrative unit to another. It would be desirable for the budgetary and accounting modules to have a common database so that they can properly monitor a transaction and all its references from commitment to payment.
On the other hand, for practical reasons, given their specific nature, the modules on human resources and payroll management for public servants, revenue management, debt management and public procurement management (SIGMAP) and the aid management platform (managed at MINEPAT) will be gradually interfaced with the budget and accounting modules. MINFI already has its IT master plan, which contains the characteristics mentioned above and which should be implemented gradually.
The implementation of NRFE should result in a convergence of concepts and data structures in order to ensure the quality of budget preparation and execution as well as its control. The IT system must also evolve to take into account major innovations, such as accrual accounting and EI/CP accounting.
The achievement of this objective is crucial to the success of the entire public finance reform. The improvement of many PEFA indicators from a D or C level to a B or A level is largely linked to the existence of an adequate IT system. These include, for example, taxpayer registration (PI-14) and tax and customs collection (PI-15), quality and timeliness of budget execution during the year (PI-24), quality and timeliness of year-end financial statements (PI-25) and effectiveness of payroll control (PI-18).
The priority actions of this axis focus on the following points:
- Organize the IT function in order to have sufficient and trained IT skills and to optimize the use of material and financial resources in an appropriate manner;
- Strengthen the governance of the MINFI and MINEPAT financial information systems reform project;
- Complete the MINEPAT IT master plan to have an overall IT development strategy for the Cameroonian public finance system;
- Gradually implement the MINFI and MINEPAT SDIs;
- Continue and implement the IT studies necessary for the implementation of most of the provisions of the NRFE, in particular as regards budget implementation.
Priority 10 Management of the reform
This priority aims to ensure the management of public finance reform and the transposition of CEMAC directives and to ensure the ownership of all stakeholders. It will build on the system gradually put in place since 2009 and will be supplemented by certain actions that are currently being implemented. This will include launching communication and awareness-raising actions and updating the training plan to take into account recent innovations due to CEMAC directives; and ensuring its implementation. The steering and monitoring system will be boosted with, on the one hand, half-yearly monitoring based on the mobilization of operational structures to prepare an assessment of the actions implemented and, on the other hand, an annual review mission of the government (and partners), which may be preceded by an external review. A workshop to review and update / revise the PSMP will be organized annually. The PMFP will be subject to an annual progress report (with a report). More systematic meetings of the Dialogue Platform will be organised, with at least one meeting per year on the presentation of the annual review and progress.
Technical meetings on the follow-up of actions could be systematized on a quarterly basis to strengthen the ownership of the plan’s activities by the responsible structures. The adequacy of the actions of the PMFP and the annual work plans of the Directorates should be ensured.
A future PEFA exercise could be organized once the new financial regime is operationalized.