The Head of State, Paul Biya on December 20, 2017, enacted Law No 2017 of 20 December 2017 relating to the Finance Law of the Republic of Cameroon for the 2018 financial year. The enactment followed the adoption of the financial bill in parliament. According to the instrument, the 2018 State budget of the Republic of Cameroon stands at FCFA 4.513.500 billion as against FCFA 4.373.800 billion in 2017. The budget balanced in income and expenditure witnesses an increase of 139.7 billion in absolute terms and 3.2 per cent in relative terms.
While presenting the 2018 Government’s Economic, Financial, Social and Cultural Programme to the people’s representative at the National Assembly, the Prime Minister, Head of Government, Philemon Yang stated that “This increase is rather moderate, given the constraints of the specific context on which this finance bill is based.” Though authorities consider the increment to be moderate, pundits however see it as significant considering the difficult financial context marked by fall in oil and commodity prices in the world market, the implementation of the Economic Partnership Agreement with the European Union which has slowed down revenue collection as well as security challenges in some parts of the country.
However, the 3.2 per cent increase representing FCFA 139.7 billion in absolute terms, came about as a result of government’s charged financial agenda in 2018. That is why the Prime Minister, Head of Government holds that “Given the significance and sensitive nature of all these issues, Government must make every effort to achieve the sector-specific objectives it has set for 2018.” He explained in his Economic, Financial, Social and Cultural Programme that the challenges are enormous and government must surmount them.
“These challenges include: the preparations for the Africa Cup of Nations 2019; the completion of the implementation of the Three-Year Emergency Plan to accelerate growth, and the continuation of the implementation of the special triennial plan for youth; the issues related to the preparation of the elections to be organized in 2018; the continued implementation of major socio-economic development projects which are underway; the implementation of the 2017-2019 Economic and Financial Programme; and all the security constraints within the country and at the borders.”
Preparations for the 2019 continental football event is paramount in government’s financial agenda. The Head of State had stated Cameroon’s resolve to successfully host the event stressing that Cameroon will be ready at the set time. Thus according to the Mr Yang “in 2018, Government shall devote special attention to Sports and Physical Education with a view to optimizing preparations for the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations to ensure the success of this event. Therefore, particular emphasis shall be laid on the completion of sports infrastructure and construction works related to the organization of this event, notably access roads, hotels, and health facilities,” he emphasised.
The 2018 budget will also cater for the completion of the Three-Year Emergency Plan (PLANUT) for accelerating economic growth. The FCFA 925 billion plan that englobes various sectors like agriculture, road infrastructures, housing, water and energy, health amongst others is in its final phase. In addition, the Head of State also initiated the Special Triennial Youth Programme which enters into its second year in 2018. The programme worth FCFA 102 billion aims at economically empowering youths and ensuring their insertion into society.