The International Monetary Fund (IMF)’s Fiscal Affairs Department will conduct a technical assistance mission in Cameroon from February 15th – 26th, 2021. Led by Jean Luc Hélis (senior economist at the IMF), it will be conducted by videoconference due to the Coronavirus pandemic.
“The aim of the mission is to support Cameroonian authorities in strengthening the financial governance and supervision of public corporations,” indicates the General Budget Directorate.
Specifically, the team will assess the legal and institutional framework as well as the internal and external missions overseeing those corporations. It will also examine the relationship between the State and public corporations based on various factors (revenue, expenditure, taxes, subsidies, guarantees, on-lending). In addition, the mission will identify the budgetary risks that weigh on public enterprises, build the capacities of the actors involved in that segment and improve the governance and transparency of public corporations ( by elaborating monitoring and operations reporting tools).
This mission is being carried out as an extension to the reform of public companies management, which entered the active phase with the promulgation of Decree No. 2019/320 of 19 June 2019. The said decree specifies when some provisions of the law on the general status of public corporations and Decree No. 2019/320 of 19 June 2019 (setting the categories, remuneration, allowances, and benefits of the directors of public corporations) should be applied. “The findings of this mission will serve as a basis for the general review of future public policies,” the General Budget Directorate reveals.
The two decrees mentioned above adjusted the benefits of officials working at public corporations. For instance, the remuneration (including base salary, responsibility allowance, and representation allowances) of those companies’ director-general, deputy director-general, and president of the administrative board is capped at a fraction of the turnover or averaged based on the last three fiscal years’ budget (depending on the category of the corporation).
According to Prof. Ondoua Biwole (former deputy director of the Advanced Institute of Public Management), with the decrees, the base salary of public corporations’ managing directors has been reduced by about 40% while housing allowances dropped from XAF2.5 million to XAF750, 000.
The public governance expert estimates that the state could save up to 50% of its expenses on public corporation managers’ remuneration by applying the decrees.
Currently, the legal provisions according to which public corporations’ general directors can do a 3-year term renewable twice (9 years in office overall) is not yet fully applied. On June 19th, 2019, a presidential decree was issued ordering the company directors who had already spent more than nine years in office to submit their resignations but, the decree is hardly applied.