The budget is expected to be a pivot of economic, social and political stability from which the country’s growth is going to leap forward amid multiple drawbacks.
Cameroon’s economy is the most diversified in the CEMAC bloc, but equally felt the blow the drop in fuel prices is leaving on oil-dependent economies. The nosedive in prices prompted a slump in economic growth in the CEMAC region to an extent that it put the community under threats of inflation.
This pushed Heads of State of the CEMAC bloc to begin looking for means to guarantee resilience. They held high level meetings a couple of years ago, one of the last which took place on December 23, 2016 in Yaounde.
It ended with resolutions that would stabilise the economies of member states of the economic and monetary bloc. The implementation of the resolutions could only be partially engaged in 2017 because the budgets of the countries had already been drawn up. Conversely, the 2018 budget was drawn up with full consideration of the resolutions.
Besides dipping fuel prices, other factors slowing down economic growth like the global drop in prices of cocoa and coffee, influx of refugees, insecurity in the Far North, East, North West, and South West Regions which further threaten social, economic and political stability also influenced the shaping of the 2018 budget.
In order to achieve macroeconomic stability in the face of these drawbacks and other factors, the 2018 budget was hinged on cautiously selected factors.
These include reduction of indebtedness and government spending, improvement of balance of trade and foreign exchange reserves, reinforcement of competitiveness by reducing public investments and bolstering private investment and most importantly, optimising non-petroleum sources of revenue.
All the factors fall within the national economic and financial programme, drawn up by the government and endorsed by the International Monetary Fund, IMF. Going by the Director General of Budget in the Ministry of Finance, Cyril Edou Alo’o, the main activities outlined in the budget include completion of major infrastructural projects, providing required funds to enable the country withstand security issues, completion of preparatory activities of the AFCON 2019, funding of 2018 elections, continuation of the 2017-2019 special youth plan and improvement of health, education, agro-pastoral sectors and other programmes and projects that would improve on citizens’ standard of living.
For effective implementation, government has not only taken measures to smoothen all channels of budget execution, but has included an innovation in the circular of instructions relating to the execution of finance laws, the monitoring and control of the execution of the budget of state, public corporations and public establishments, regional and local authorities and other subsidised bodies.
The innovation lies in the budget policy dichotomy aimed at ensuring budget discipline .