As the adage “health is wealth” goes, the President of the Republic while championing measures to stem the coronavirus pandemic, is also rallying all and sundry to keep the national economy afloat.
T he recent unusual outing of the President of the Republic on the eve of the 48th edition of the National Day still reverberates in the minds of many Cameroonians. The speech by President Paul Biya which was dedicated mostly to the current coronavirus pandemic speaks volumes of a leader who cares about the wellbeing of his people. If the adage “health is wealth” is anything to go by, then the recent decision of the Head of State to annul public celebrations of the National Day was just a stitch in time given that the even usually mobilises several people in different parts of the country thereby relegating social distancing measure. Though he admitted it was a difficult decision, he however acknowledged it was worthwhile for the safety of the population.
As a concerned leader, President Paul Biya ordered emergency measures as soon as the COVID-19 showed its ugly face in Cameroon on March 6. On instructions of the President of the Republic, Prime Minister, Head of Government took barrier measures to stem the spread of the disease. These measures including the creation of the Special National Solidarity Fund could not escape the President’s memory. “I have taken measures, within the limit of existing resources to ensure its replenishment with the sum of one billion CFA francs. Additional resources could be provided depending on changing needs on the ground,” the President reassured. He equally made mention of the last measures taken on April 30 by the government on his instructions. According to President Paul Biya, the measures were aimed at mitigating the impact of the pandemic on the national economy. “I would like to specify the spirit of the 19 measures taken late last month without revisiting the details. The aim was basically to mitigate the impacts of the pandemic on the national economy and the life of most fragile households,” he said. The May 19 presidential speech also provided the opportunity for the Head of State to recognise friends in need who have come to the aid of Cameroon during this health crisis. “We have also had the pleasure of receiving assistance and encouragement from friendly countries, international organizations, national and foreign business leaders as well as various personalities…,” he stated. President Paul Biya equally used the occasion to call for national solidarity in the fight against the pandemic. “I therefore appeal for a kind of “united front” of all the vital forces of the nation against the coronavirus,” he urged. Local industry as a matter of urgency must continue the production of face masks and alcoholic based solutions in strict respect of norms as the country tightens noose on the fight.
President Paul Biya in his speech made concrete recommendations to the government as a post Civid-19 way forward in order to keep the national economy afloat. While evoking the negative impact of coronavirus pandemic on the global economy as well as the national economy, President Biya stated that “we will have to return to the path of growth, while ensuring that jobs are preserved during this period of uncertainty and difficulty.” He urged government to be mobilised more than ever before and be resources and inventive in order to maintain financial balances, contain the rate of inflation, ensure continuity of public service and regulate economic activity so as to safeguard social stability. In effect, the country’s development policy has to be given new orientations while development projects and programmes are updated to meet up with contemporary exigencies.