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[ 30.03.2012 ] [Service du Premier Ministre, Administrations Publiques, Grands Projets]

PRESS RELEASE FOLLOWING THE CABINET MEETING OF THURSDAY, 29 MARCH 2012

The Prime Minister, Head of Government, Mr. Philemon YANG today Thursday, 29 March 2012 as from 11:00 a.m. in the main building of the Prime Minister’s Office, chaired an important Cabinet meeting. In attendance were the Vice-Prime Minister, Ministers of State, Ministers, Ministers-Delegate and Secretaries of State.   Two items featured on the agenda, namely:

The Prime Minister, Head of Government, Mr. Philemon YANG today Thursday, 29 March 2012 as from 11:00 a.m. in the main building of the Prime Minister’s Office, chaired an important Cabinet meeting. In attendance were the Vice-Prime Minister, Ministers of State, Ministers, Ministers-Delegate and Secretaries of State.

Two items featured on the agenda, namely:

1. a statement by the Minister of State in charge of Justice, Keeper of the Seals, followed by a complementary statement by Ministers in charge of Territorial Administration, the Supreme State Audit and the Public Service on: the stakes and challenges of the governance sector as outlined in the Growth and Employment Strategy Paper (GESP);

2. a statement by the Minister Delegate at the Presidency in charge of Public Contracts on “the new public contracts system;

In his statement, the Minister of State, Keeper of the Seals, revealed the magnitude of governance challenges in Cameroon generally before dwelling on the specific challenges of the justice sub-sector, hinged on four priority areas: (i) strengthening the rule of law and the safety of persons and property; (ii) promoting professional ethics in the judiciary; (iii) fighting corruption and (iv) improving the business climate by strengthening legal and judicial safety.

He pointed out that significant efforts were made to improve the performance of the justice system and consolidate the rule of law. He mentioned the recent opening of administrative courts in the ten regions and some courts of first instance. Recently, more human resources were absorbed – 600 additional magistrates, 900 registry staff, 300 secretaries, and 700 contract workers as part of the recruitment of 25,000 certificate holders.

In the permanent quest for better professional ethics, priority (as far as access to the judicial professions is concerned) will be on the revision of the rules and regulations of various corps, harmonization of initial and continuing training and the opening of the National Institute of Judicial Studies.

Listing efforts made to intensify the fight against corruption and similar offences, the Keeper of the Seals mentioned the setting up of the Special Criminal Court to try cases of misappropriation of public funds amounting to at least CFAF 50 million.

Lastly, he noted that the public authorities are resolutely committed to ensuring that the judicial sub-sector catalyzes business climate improvement, as evidenced in the setting of commercial branches in courts of first instance and the promotion of alternative modes of settlement of commercial disputes.

The complementary statement of the Minister Delegate at the Presidency in charge of the Supreme State Audit highlighted the expectations contained in the Growth and Employment Strategy Paper with regard to his institution. These mainly involve fighting against the misappropriation of State funds by increasing and diversifying audit activities and systematically summoning accused persons to appear before the Budget and Financial Disciplinary Council.

The contribution of the Minister for the Public Service and Administrative Reform showed the link between strategic State management as advocated in the Growth and Employment Strategy Paper (GESP) and human resource management modernization projects. He reported on progress achieved in three strategic areas, namely: (i) the continued deployment of the Computerized State Personnel and Payroll Management System (SIGIPES), effective in 33 out of 36 ministries; (ii) shortening of the time taken to include new employees on the State payroll from 24 to 9 months; and (iii) implementation of the technical staffing plan for certain corps, which in 2011 allowed for the absorption of 39,834 new workers.

The statement by the Minister for Territorial Administration and Decentralization, presented by the Minister-Delegate, underlined the governance challenges facing this ministry. Thus, the emphasis in terms of human rights promotion and protection was on modernizing the civil status, as seen in the setting up of the National Civil Status Bureau and the sensitization of administrative authorities to reconcile public freedoms with the imperative of law enforcement.

The Government is also implementing a number of initiatives targeting the safety of persons and property. These include reviving the joint security commissions with neighbouring States, intensifying the fight against market fires and designing plans for organizing rescue operations in administrative units.

Lastly, the Minister-Delegate indicated that the other dimension of governance which is decentralization is being implemented satisfactorily and councils do receive more powers and resources every year.

After the ensuing discussions, the Head of Government asked the Minister of State in charge of Justice, Keeper of the Seals, to liaise with the other ministers concerned to strengthen the coherence of governance related actions especially by designing an updated sector strategy. He also enjoined the Ministers in charge of the public service and finance to strive in earnest to significantly reduce the time taken to effectively include newly-recruited personnel on the State payroll.

Proceedings continued with the presentation of the new public contacts system by the Minister-Delegate at the Presidency in charge of public contracts. He indicated that this new system seeks to optimize Government procurements. The aim was to ensure that 5,017 contracts amounting to over CFAF 653 billion, programmed by the State and its external services, are actually awarded and executed in 2012.

In that regard, the President of the Republic established a new system whose centre-piece is the Ministry of Public Contracts, competent to launch bids and award contracts above CFAF 50 million as well as control execution on the field.

Below the CFAF 50 million threshold, contracting authorities are ministers, council executives and officers of the external organs of the State, supported by tenders boards.

The new control system is built around the control of execution conducted by the Ministry of Public Contracts, the presence of an independent observer for projects above CFAF 50 million and the systematic end-of-year audit of all contracts above CFAF 500 million and 25% of those ranging between CFAF 50 and 500 million, conducted by an independent auditor recruited by the Public Contracts Regulatory Agency.

The Minister pointed out that the Public Contracts Regulatory Agency remains the watchdog and facilitator of the system. It is responsible inter alia for training, design of model documents, collection and filing of documents and publication of the public contracts journal. It may also propose public contracts related reforms, perform specific audits requested by the authorities and, at the request of the Minister of Public Contracts, consider petitions and appeals filed by bidders.

The new system also sought to create distance between tenders boards and contracting authorities. That is why tenders board presidents and secretaries are henceforth appointed by the Minister for Public Contracts. Based on the new competence threshold, there are central tenders boards, ministerial tenders boards, internal tenders boards in the State’s external services, regional tenders boards and divisional tenders boards. There are plans to set up special tenders boards within projects.

Furthermore, the amount of jobbing orders has been raised from CFAF 30 to 50 million while procedural timeframes have been shortened. The bids assessment period has been reduced from 30 to 7 days and the time allowed the board to propose an award scaled down from 45 to 21 days.

The Minister concluded his statement by indicating the human, financial and material resources needed to deploy the new ministry.

At the end of the ensuing debates, the Prime Minister instructed all Members of Government to encourage their aides to take full ownership of the new public contracts system – the prime requisite for the proper implementation of their roadmaps and the “Major Accomplishments” programme.

Lastly, the Head of Government invited the Ministers in charge of state property, the public service, finance and the economy to, in their respective spheres, give the support requested by the Minister-Delegate at the Presidency in charge of Public Contracts, for the effective start of his ministry.

The Cabinet Meeting was adjourned at 1:30 p.m./-

Yaounde, 29 March 2012

GHOGOMU Paul MINGO,

Director of the Prime Minister’s Cabinet

 

 


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