Friday, January 4, 2020 made one year since President Paul Biya formed the post- October 2018 presidential election government led by Prime Minister Chief Dr Joseph Dion Ngute.
President Paul Biya during the Council of Minister’s Meeting of January 16, 2019 gave the major orientations which the government he formed on January 4, 2019 led by Prime Minister, Head of Government, Chief Dr Joseph Dion Ngute had to implement. The Minister of State, Secretary General at the Presidency, Ferdinand Ngoh Ngoh in a press release stated the President’s instructions. The government of “Great Opportunities” has been at work for exactly one year and had made some strides in implementing President Biya’s guidelines and orientations in the political, economic and social domains.
-Removing Security Constraints: By the time the government was formed, socio-political and security crises in the English-speaking North West and South West Regions was a teething problem. The Dion Ngute-led government has been working tooth and nail to address the crisis. Prime Minister Dion Ngute personally led peace-seeking missions to the two regions from May 10 to 16, 2019 where he discussed with the different strata of the society on ways of resolving the crisis. Then came the Major National Dialogue of September 30 to October 4, 2019 the Head of State summoned and Prime Minister Dion Ngute chaired. The recommendations of the Major National Dialogue are being implemented with one being the Law to Institute the General Code of Regional and Local Authorities one of whose major innovations is the special status granted to the North West and South West Regions. Peace is gradually returning to the North West and South West Regions, and secessionist fighters laying down their arms and coming to the National Disarmament, Demobilisation and Reintegration Centres.
Consolidating Peace, National Unity and Cohabitation
Government for the past one year has devoted much efforts in working for peace, national unity and cohabitation. One of the ways is through the promotion of bilingualism and multiculturalism which are the bedrocks of living together, peace and national unity. Government under the leadership of Prime Minister Joseph Dion Ngute embarked on the campaign against hate speech and the actions to promote multiculturalism and living together. To ensure that the values become permanent, government tabled bills during the November 2019 ordinary session of parliament that have been promulgated into law. One of them is the law on the Promotion of official languages in Cameroon which are English and French having equal status with obligation to be used in public entities. There is also the Law N° 2019/020 to amend and supplement some provisions of Law N° 2016/7 of 12 July 2016 relating to the Penal Code. This law sets out to fight against tribalism as it has provisions for sanctions in case of contempt of race or religion, as well as tribe or ethnic group.
In this domain, government has been working to implement President Paul Biya’s guidelines which include industrialisation and second generation agriculture, modernising the economy, reviving growth and creating jobs.
-Cabinet meetings: Prime Minister Joseph Dion in the successive cabinet meetings he chaired has given priority to the economic growth with an innovation that in each cabinet meeting a report on the implementation of the previous one is made. The first cabinet meeting of the January 4, 2019 government held on January 31, 2019 focused on the impact of imports of goods and services in balance of payment and also the strategy to promote locally-made products to reduce imports. Discussions in the cabinet meeting of March 28, 2019 were on the levers for the industrial transformation of local agricultural products and involvement of national Small and Medium-sized Enterprises in the creation of value chain to reduce importation of good and services. That of April 25, 2019 centred on strategies to enhance the competitiveness of Cameroonian companies.
-Attracting Investors: President Biya urged government to better welcome investors to the country and to grant them the appropriate facilities. This guideline was translated into concrete action through the new orientations given to the Cameroon Business Forum in Douala. The Prime Minister also took a leading position in encouraging the private investors when on April 26, 2019, he chaired the commissioning ceremony of Neo Industry. The 32,000-tonne capacity industry located in Kekem in the Upper Nkam Division of the West Region processes cocoa butter and powder and is equipped by the German Buhler. He equally chaired the commissioning ceremony of the 4-Star Hotel “La Falaise” in the Bonapriso neighbourhood of Douala on April 24, 2019.
In December 2019, government materialised the government’s plan to recruit 2,000 PhD holders to teach in State Universities. The first phase which consists of recruiting 1,000 of them has been effective and the others will be recruited in the following years according to the laid down programme.
-Natural Disasters: Government timely and actively intervened in natural disasters that hit some parts of the country within the year. One of the main disasters in the landslide that happened in Gouache in Bafoussam on October 28, 2019 night killing 43 people. President Paul Biya declared November 9, 2019 a National Day of Mourning in memory of the victims of the landslide. Prime Minister Joseph Dion Ngute personally represented the Head of State in the tribute and funeral ceremony at the Bafoussam Grandstand, visited the disaster site to appraise the situation as well as the injured in the hospital. Before that, the Minister of Territorial Administration, Paul Atanga Nji transmitted the Head of State’s compassion to the people as well as gave relief materials. Government also intervened during floods in some parts of the Logone –et-Chari Division of the Far North Region that occurred still in October 2019 affecting over 10,000 people.
The building of sports infrastructure in preparation for Cameroon’s hosting of CHAN 2020 and Africa Cup of Nations (CAN Total) 2021 have picked up again and are accelerating. For example, the transfer of the construction of the Olembe Sports Complex from the Italian Group Piccini to the Canadian company Magil has led to the pick up of work on the site. Work is also reported in other stadia and infrastructure to host the games.
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