IMF Hails Cameroon For Transparency In Award Of COVID-19 Contracts

In a rare appreciation of financial management by Cameroon, the Assistant Director-General of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), Mitsuhiro Furusawa, has commended the transparency of the Cameroonian Government in the award of contracts related to the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.

Kurosawa spoke on Wednesday, October 21, 2020 on the occasion of the approval of a further 86.2 billion FCFA (about 156 million dollars) for the country in support of its fight against the COVID-19.

“The authorities (of Cameroon) have reaffirmed their firm engagement in favour of an efficacious and transparent utilisation of public funds and ensure that the Rapid Credit Facility financing and resources disbursed would be efficaciously spent to fight against the pandemic crisis. 

“Within this context, the measures taken by the authorities to publish the beneficial ownership of the enterprises awarded contracts linked to the Covid-19 are important,” he said.

In effect, besides the publication of the different contributions towards the COVID-19 Special National Solidarity Fund for the fight against the coronavirus, the publication of the amounts allocated to each ministerial department within the context of the fight against the pandemic, the Cameroonian government on October 5, 2020 made public a new 26-page document signed by the Secretary of State for Public Health, Alim Hayatou outlining hundreds of special contracts awarded to enterprises within the context of the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic in Cameroon.

The document indicated the purpose of each contract, the amount, the enterprise to which the contract was awarded, the name of the owner of the enterprise and the state of advancement of the contract.

Authoritative sources in the Ministry of Public Health reveal that missions from the Audit Bench of the Supreme Court are now in certain ministerial departments auditing the utilisation of the financial resources put at the disposal of the ministries in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic.

The commendation from the IMF comes against the backdrop of condemnation by Hon. Jean-Miche Nintcheu, a parliamentarian of the opposition Social Democratic Party (SDF) who accused the government of “opaque management” of funds intended to fight against the Covid-19.

Some civil society and non-governmental organisations (ONG), including Human Rights Watch, also suspect the government of embezzlement of the COVID-19 funds.

Nevertheless, the government is yet to make public its semester report on public spending linked to the fight against the pandemic and its socio-economic consequences. The report is supposed to outline the ensemble of financial operations so far effected.

According to a circular of July 22, 2020, spelling out the modalities of organisation, the functioning and follow-up evaluation of the Special National Solidarity Fund for the fight against the coronavirus and its social and economic repercussions, the production of the report is the responsibility of the Minister of Finance, Louis Paul Motaze.

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Chief Bisong Etahoben

Chief Bisong Etahoben is a Cameroonian investigative journalist and traditional ruler. He writes for international media and has participated in several transnational investigations. Etahoben won the first-ever Cameroon Investigative Journalist Award in 1992. He serves as a member of a number of international investigative journalism professional bodies including the Forum for African Investigative Reporters (FAIR). He is HumAngle's Francophone and Central Africa editor.

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