One Good Turn Deserving Another!

Promise made and promise kept! Some teachers across the country who hitherto received only 2/3 of their monthly salaries have since Friday March 25, 2022 been smiling from ear to ear with full pay. In effect, the Head of State’s prescription announced by Government’s Spokesperson and Communication Minister, René Emmanuel Sadi, during a press conference in Yaounde early this month, “ to proceed with the payment as from March 2022, of the monthly salary supplement owed to teachers with or without integration decrees, who currently receive only 2/3 of their salary, and the payment of the housing allowance owed to teachers who are yet to receive it;” has been respected, surely to the letter. 
Echoes from across the country lend credence to this and there is obviously joy among the beneficiaries. Understandably so as going for years with only a fraction of one’s take-home has not been an easy one for the teachers. Worse still, at a time when hikes in the prices of almost everything continues to increase the cost of living, to almost unbearable proportions to even full income earners.  Making ends meet is increasingly an uphill task for many families.
To say the least, the Head of State’s prescription for government to, from March 2022, and until the end of this financial year, to settle the debt resulting from the unpaid housing allowances of the 5,289 staff of the Ministry of Secondary Education, as well as the debt arising from the partial integration of the 20,449 staff of this same Ministry, who receive only two third of their wage, has been a stitch in time. 
Taking such a decision which entails coughing out FCFA 17 billion 600 million, representing a total of FCFA 1 billion 759 million per month when the State budget is already functional speaks well of a strong desire to carry out whatever adjustments to meet the teacher’s needs. A veritable sign of goodwill which should as well convince those who still doubted the Presidential promise. Keeping to the assurance is a strong message that today can right yesterday’s wrongs and shape a better tomorrow. Paying the full salaries for those who earned 2/3 as well as housing allowances to deserving State functionaries of the teaching corps, as promised, should be enough reason for all and sundry to trust the State and its leader and join him in using today’s stumbling blocks as stepping stones in building a country where people will no longer wait for this long to reap the fruits of their labour. 
Like the Minister of Communication said during the press briefing in which the Head of State’s salutary decisions were announced, there was every reason to be pleased, “As it is undeniable that these will make it possible to improve the status, the career and the living conditions of those who make up the educational community, and who have a rightful place in our society.”  Happiness born out of the first step in materialising the President’s promise gives more reasons to hope for better days ahead especially with other payments billed for the months and year ahead. Hopes are therefore heightened that the salary arrears caused by the implementation of these two measures will be paid as planned. In effect, President Biya instructed government to pay salary arrears caused by the implementation of these two measures. Government is therefore full-drawn to pay FCFA 28 billion during the current year, starting in the month of May. The remainder, approximately FCFA 31 billion 900 million will be paid during the year 2023. A detailed payment plan well communicated to the rest of the world on which a working group has been put in place and working tooth and nail to respect. 
How else can a leader show good faith to a corps as vital as teaching whose aggrieved practitioners didn’t go underground to ask for what rightfully belongs to them? Those who waved the Presidential promise with the back of the hand, insinuating that it would go the way of previous declarations should now revise their stance. There are clear indications of the will to break away from the bitter past to improve the present and the future. A good step on the right path! 
Since one good turn deserves the other, the now or soon-to-be fulfilled teachers should part ways with the strike and wholly uphold the chalk for this academic year to end in earnest. The most dignified way to show gratitude to the Presidential promise painstakingly kept is adequately investing in the lives of youngsters on whom Cameroon’s tomorrow depends.
Keeping to the Head of State’s promise is certainly a confidence-building measure that should rationally trigger change from across the board. The near confidence-crisis between the government and the teachers, showcased through reticence even after the loud-sounding remedial measures were announced, showed its ugly side. Dangerous in a system where partnerships are crucial! A rift which self-seeking politicians took advantage of, in controversial show of solidarity with the aggrieved teachers, to push for near unattainable demands, at a time when almost all economies are struggling to stay afloat amidst wild crises. 
The fact that the strike action launched on February 21, 2022 by some teachers’ trade unions characterized in particular by the cessation of teaching, as well as the organisation...



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