Many Mayors across Cameroon have acknowledged that their local development locomotive mission is witnessing a leap forward considering the disbursement of the FCFA 100 million to each of the 360 local Councils in the country as provided for in Prime Minister’s decree N° 2019/0826 of 22 February 2019 to set the allocation of the General Decentralisation Grant for 2019 fiscal year.
Prime Minister, Head of Government, Chief Dr Joseph Dion Ngute who also doubles as the Chairman of the National Decentralisation Board fixed the General Decentralisation Grant for 2019 fiscal year at FCFA 49.8 billion. For the first time since the advent of the decentralisation process in Cameroon, the Grant allocated for general investment stood at FCFA 360 billion. Also welcomed is the fact that the money has to go directly to local councils. The money has to be distributed equally to all the 360 local Councils in the country to finance advanced council projects registered in the project log book of the Ministry of Decentralisation and Local Development. Each council as per the decree is allocated FCFA 100 million. The projects financed by the grant are those agreed upon by the beneficial councils, the Ministry in charge of Public Investments and the Ministry in charge of Regional and Local Development.
Seven months after the decree allocating the investment grant to the local councils, results from the field indicate global satisfaction and acceleration of the execution of projects for the general interest and wellbeing of the population. With the money, some mayors say, they have constructed wards in health structures, bridges, classrooms in schools. Some also say they have electrified villages, dug council roads and provided potable drinking water. The money comes to add to other public projects contained the respective councils development plans and public investment budget intended to raise the living standards of the local population, ensure equitable development and empower the population.
At the end of the year, government would certainly evaluate the impact of the investment grant allocated to the local councils, draw lessons and prepare for better disbursement of funds directly to the local council executives to meet pressing development needs. The intention of the 2019 General Decentralisation investment allocation is to test the ability of local councils to decide on their priority projects and oversee their execution.
Local council executives on their part, have very often called on government to increase the public investment budget allocated to councils for development. Some have suggested that at least 20 per cent of the budget be devoted to local development in order to meet the varied development needs of the population. With the first experience of more money allocated for local development, council executives need to do an evaluate of how effective they have used the grant, learn from their mistakes and measure challenges in preparation for more inclusive and palpable development projects in future should more resources be allocated to counci
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