Cameroon’s economic machinery is essentially oiled by Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) that form about 94 per cent of the economic fabric. These SMEs are involved in diverse fields of the economy including civil engineering (for infrastructure), electrical and water engineering (electricity and water), general service providers as well as consultancies for studies amongst others. During the current financial year, the State budget for the Republic of Cameroon is balanced in income and expenditure at FCFA 4,513.5 billion with investment to gulp FCFA 1,291.5 billion (28.6 per cent) of the total sum. According to statistics from the website of the Ministry of Public Contracts (MINMAP) the amount is allotted to fund some 5,339 projects nationwide. Apart from the investment projects, the government machinery will also need to function with some facilities like office stationaries and furniture which will certainly be supplied by local enterprises, a great deal of them are involved in this line of business as suppliers.
With the foregoing therefore, opportunities are abound for local enterprises in the 2018 financial year. The enterprises will have a myriad of projects to postulate especially as the government has opted to support Cameroonian owned companies. Cameroonian SMEs are given preference in public procurement with at least 15 per cent quota as explained by the Director General of Economy and Investment Programming in MINEPAT, Prof Isaac Tamba. As the government operationalises “economic patriotism, national preferences for public procurement is imbibed in the 2004 Public Contracts law. Following the difficult global economic situation in 2017 due to fall in oil and raw material prices, the State treasury was deeply affected leading to accrued debts owed local SMEs. But the Head of State, has ordered during his end of year speech that attention should be paid to these debts so that SMEs can have liquidity and remain in business. Cameroon Business Today learnt from the senior official of the Ministry of Economy, Planning and Regional Development that some FCFA 200 billion have been allocated in the budget to service these internal debts owed SMEs in 2018.
The 2018 budget will be executed within a particular context of a rebound in growth as the World Bank forecast a 4.1 per cent growth rate. This is good news for the local economy and enterprises as the economic outlook promises to be more robust this year with commodity prices expected to rebound. The government has therefore streamlined stringent guidelines to ensure quality spending and management of the budget so that it meets the development aspirations of the government. Local private enterprises are also key stakeholders in ensuring that projects earmarked in the budget are realised. This explains why the Minister of the Economy, Planning and Regional Development, Louis Paul Motaze, while launching the project-log book for 2018, emphasised that the private sector is expected to take the lead in public investment execution. “In this regard, the 2018 PIB focuses on the completion and operation of major first-generation projects, as well as ongoing projects, so that they could rapidly yield the expected results to strengthen conditions that would enable the private sector to take the lead in public investments,” he stated.