Infrastructure Development: Taking The Bold Step

The one thing that people may never stop asking to ensure their wellbeing is infrastructure. Conscious of such a key concern in society, many politicians have conceived their activities around the provision of basic human needs as roads, schools, electricity, water, hospitals. Modern exigencies have even extended the list of needs; making what could appear in the past as luxury, to be an imperative today. Internet, telephone and similar facilities are increasingly overbearing to an extent that it is becoming impossible to operate without them.     
Faced with challenges, government has over the years embarked on several mega infrastructure projects to enable the population not only cope with the times, but be able to lead a decent life. With the new year still in its first month and the announcement of some development projects being made, many will expect to see such structure either get off the ground, or those that have been in the pipeline over the years to be completed. Understandably therefore, the first cabinet meeting for the year which held on 26 January, 2024 harped on the need to respect deadline for a major development infrastructure which is the Nachtigal Power Dam. It is expected to start sending out energy to the required quarters by the first quarter on 2024 with trials having already been effected. It is certainly not the first dam in the country. There has been the Memve’ele Hydroelectric Power Station with a capacity of 211 megawatts that was started in April 2012 and its first 80 megawatts were produced in 2019. Officials say there is a 225 kilovolt high voltage transmission line to Yaounde, which should be able to bolster electricity supply in the capital city once it is completed. Many more are still being announced. The determination to tackle so many of such infrastructure at the same time and with varied fortunes has been partly to fulfil constant quest by the Head of State for the projects to get operational and meet the ever-growing demands by the population.     
Every forward looking citizen has had time to appreciate the various initiatives to provide qualitative and quantitative infrastructure in the country and over the past few years, the speed has been visible. Yet, it is hard to say with certainty if the timelines have always been respected. The time that most of the structures have taken to move from conception to realisation and eventually getting to the level of those who really need them in towns and village has hardly been evident, especially to those who are really in dire need of such facilities. No one would even argue that conceiving such structure and eventually getting them to completion can be nerve-wrecking. The complications involved and the intricacies required are actually not supposed to be brought to the fore because that is why they are specifically handed to experts who are supposed to be patriotic enough even if they are out for profit. After all, genuine gains do exist.     
Of course, the absence of certain infrastructure in certain parts of the country has been the root cause of government’s inability to provide some development facilities in such localities. For instance, progress being made on the first-ever extraction of iron ore in Cameroon, notably the Lobe and Grand-Zambi in the South Region as well as the Mbalam, spanning the East and South Regions is laudable. There is no secret in saying that the indispensable role that befitting infrastructure like adequate roads and railway line can play in the success of whatever is being produced in the area is known to everyone along the production chain. These are new and ongoing projects that carry much hope in terms of direct and indirect job-creation. It equally means that if the project has stayed for decades and are finally coming out of the closets now, it means those who have a part to play in their realisation have an obligation to do the needful. It requires enough courage to be able to scale the numerous hurdles that lie ahead in the effective completion of certain infrastructure in various parts of the country. For example, the year 2025 will mark the end of a suspension that was imposed over the introduction of new projects being introduced into the State budget. This decision to halt new projects was rightly taken by members of the Extended Conference on Budget Pla...



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