First Things First!

The issue of maturation of projects in Cameroon’s public procurement system is almost becoming banal given the frequency with which the subject comes up each time a State budget is being drafted or execution evaluated. What however baffles many analysts is why would such an issue as important as project maturation be either handled lightly or even neglected by those who draft projects for financing by the State’s Public Investment Budget.
Whether out of ignorance or bad faith, the bottom line is that an immature project inscribed on the Project’s Logbook and whose contract is expected to be awarded can simply be abandoned or at best poorly executed. Under such conditions, scarce financial resources are wasted alongside precious time and the beneficiary population are compelled to remain in perpetual want to the extent of even radicalising impatient ones. Making sure that projects are technically and financially ripe for execution before programming them shouldn’t be optional.
Setting up a technical inter-ministerial expert’s committee to ascertain the maturity of projects as government did was a good step in the right direction. That the committee met in its second session last Friday July 30, 2021 with some twelve projects on the table for scrutiny is telling of the desire to ensure that first things are done first in the public contracts chain. Hopes are high that the members of the technical committee will be able to rise above influence peddling and either delay some immature but already earmarked projects or propose the redirection of some of the projects from their initial destinations to where they are highly needed. 
Programming a project whose funding is not yet assured may be politically motivating but socio-economically devastating. It is not good to rekindle the population’s hope on a project whose execution is merely a dream; in fact, a far-fetched one even. Awarding a contract for a project not known or little known to the anticipated beneficiaries would make execution challenging for the contractor. Reports of contractors going to the field to build, for instance, classrooms where the earmarked sites are non-existent or quarrelsome h...



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