Schools, roads, hospitals…: Public services contracted out also affect the finances of public enterprises (official)

(Business in Cameroon) – In Cameroon, in addition to the enormous debt and expenditure as well as the lack of innovation and competitiveness, the performance of state-owned enterprises is also affected by the public service missions they perform. This is the explanation provided by a document attached to the 2021 finance bill.

As part of their operations, some state-owned enterprises are required to bear the cost of public services, which should have been budgeted in the public investment budget. This situation affects the finances of companies“, we read in the document.

Companies facing such a requirement are the cotton development company SODECOTON, the oil palm producer PAMOL PLANTATIONS, the agricultural exporter CDC, the rice producer SEMRY and the Upper Nun Valley Development Authority (UNVDA).

The public services they cover include the maintenance of roads to facilitate access to their production areas, the construction and management of schools, clinics and health centers, the training and supervision of researchers and farmers, the construction of houses for some officials, as well as the management of the security forces.

SODECOTON, a notable case

For example, SODECOTON claims to have built 26,000 kilometers of roads since its creation in May 1974 to date. Also, according to internal sources, it renovates nearly 7,000 kilometers of rural roads each year in the country.

SODECOTON has obtained the government’s promise to reimburse the expenses related to these public services but these reimbursements hardly occur. The company is forced to renovate rural roads because the budgets devoted to the maintenance of rural roads are significantly lower than the needs in Cameroon. “The budget allocated to the maintenance of rural roads and tracks is around XAF 10 billion, for a road network estimated by inventories at more than 100,000 km», Revealed the former Minister of Public Works Patrice Amba Salla before the National Assembly in June 2015.

This was the equivalent of a budget of 60,000 FCFA for each kilometer of rural roads and tracks at the time, in a country where the real costs of maintaining the tracks are estimated at 2 million FCFA per kilometer.

Brice R. Mbodiam

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