The new arrangement will be tailored to embrace less austerity and enhance private sector development.
One of the biggest and probably interesting revelations coming from the 6th International Exhibition for Enterprises, SMEs and Partnership, PROMOTE, that has been holding at the Yaounde Conference Centre is the fact that Cameroon is reflecting on negotiating another loan agreement with the International Monetary Fund (IMF). Louis Paul Motaze in an improvised speech at the inauguration of the “Pavillon France” stated inter alia that the new arrangement will not give birth to a new form of austerity but will ensure the development of the private sector. This, he specified, is in respect of the orientation of the Head of State. “Even though expenditure will be reduced, we in the Ministry of the Economy think that it is important to continue to create riches and growth and government thinks that the best way to create riches is to promote the private sector”, Motaze said.
The decision to renegotiate another agreement with the Bretton woods institution is surely coming on the heels of the possible nefarious effects on the economy feared to be triggered by the continuous fall in the price of oil on the international market. Cameroon certainly does not want to find herself in the situation of her neighbours in the Central African Sub Region where the drop in oil rates have sent their economies crumbling to very disturbing levels. The situation, everyone knows, is further compounded by the rising insecurity provoked by the Nigerian based Islamist activist group, Boko Haram that has pushed the country to send its hands into the darkest corner of its economic pocket. The six Presidents of countries of the CEMAC sub region, it should be recalled, resolved on December, 23, last year during their last summit in Yaounde to resort to other sources of revenue in a bid to attenuate the impact of the unfortunate economic and security situation.
The presence of the Director General of the International Monetary Fund, Christine Lagarde, during the Yaounde summit was certainly not by chance. After discussing with the Heads of State, it was concluded that the various countries of the sub-region could solicit the intervention of the international finance house. The decision to initiate another negotiation falls in line with this framework. Which direction the agreement will take remains the big question on many minds. What remains assuring is the fact that all measures will be taken to ensure that the agreement does not become a burden for Cameroonians especially the low class people to carry. In effect, this fear stems from past experience marked by the painful implementation of the Structural Adjustment Programme that occurred between 1988 and 2009.
IMF loans are often looked at with lots of disdain by many countries, reason why many have often gone for them as a last resort. Unlike considering such aid as help with strings, it is however important to note that their implementation is often done with strict supervision. That in a sense is where the shoe pinches. That notwithstanding, the good news is that the new arrangement will be tailored to above all boost the private sector which is playing a very important role in enhancing the country’s economy. The negotiations are happening within different context that in the late 90s and early 20s.