The fate of road projects under construction as well as those under maintenance can be considered to be in the hands of stakeholders who began meeting in an evaluation session in Yaounde yesterday, June 10. In effect, the Minister of Public Works assisted by the Secretary of State to the Minister of Public Works in charge of Roads kick-started a series of reflection with actors in the road sector in order to evaluate the level of execution of 78 road projects and identify the blockages therein.
These include interurban roads, intercity highways, bridges, council roads as well as rural roads under maintenance. Together with major actors in the sector such as; institutional partners in charge of project implementation, control missions, contractors, companies involved in project execution and engineers in charge of following up road projects, Public Works authorities are expected to size up the stakes, readjust strategy and demolish the obstacles that have so far impeded the execution of the 78 projects under scrutiny.
One of the most important things the population has often requested from the administration, it should be recalled, is the provision of good roads. Politicians are quite aware of this and have often worked towards satisfying the thirst of the population even if this satisfaction remains on paper. The economic development of any nation can never be rendered concrete without the development of its road infrastructure.
In Cameroon for instance, no region seems to be fully satisfied with the level of its road infrastructure in spite of government's effort in enhancing the sector. The growing demand for roads, especially paved ones, with increasing insistence has certainly not left President Paul Biya indifferent. In one of his engagements announced in his New Year message to the nation, he stated inter alia that special attention will in 2018 be given to road infrastructure. “We will also maintain our resolve to implement our major projects, with a special focus on road infrastructure", he assured.
For several years now, the Ministry of Public Works has been emerging with the biggest envelop from the State budget for obvious reasons. The road is the purveyor of development and keen attention must be given to projects related to it. Unfortunately, these projects continue to suffer from the hands of uncommitted stakeholders.
The result is the systematic abandonments registered here and there. Once this happens, accusing fingers are pointed to every direction of responsibility. If it’s not because of delays and complications in the contract award procedure, it is either because money has not been disbursed or has been paid later than the expected date.
Cases abound where road projects are inadvertently suspended simply because the local population residing along the project site has not been compensated. Cases equally abound where the non disbursement of counterpart money is held responsible for the stoppage of a project. In fact, the list is long and these in effect, are the obstacles that have paralyzed the effective implementation of road projects in Cameroon