Four months after the political increase in Cameroon’s 2017 budget, top officials from the Ministry of Finance have expressed concern about the country’s inability to survive amidst several crises which have impeded economic growth.
There are signs that parliament’s decision to increase the budget by 3,3% during the November 2016 session was unrealistic.
An insight by Alafnet.com on the Statistics revealed that only 70% of the 4234,7 Billion XAF budget for the previous year was used. Even though, financial experts were quick to raise alarms about the feasibility of obtaining the adopted 2017 budget, government pursued its decision to vote for a 139,1 Billion XAF budget raise, with no corresponding or alternative sources of revenue.
Confronted with an empty purse, a senior director of budget in the Ministry of Finance who sued for anonymity, declared to our reporter that ‘the only way out of this mess will be to slash salaries by 50% before the month of August’.He revealed that the oil-and-gaz sector which is Cameroon’s principal source of revenue has undergone significant drops during the past years, causing the country to rely heavily on taxes and foreign loans.
With the suspension of internet over North West and South West Regions of the country, multinational telecom companies like MTN, NEXTTEL and ORANGE would have valid reasons to significantly reduce their income taxes to the state. Unfortunately, the situation is worsened by the unprecedented expenditure to sustain the war efforts against Boko Haram radicals in the Northern Regions and cross-border insurgencies from the Eastern frontiers with the Republic of Central Africa.
In addition to the above, analysts have suggested that the already paralyzing effects of the ghost towns in the North West and South West Regions of Cameroon will spread to other regions in the weeks ahead. Any attempt to slash salaries during this period shall be a good recipe for an uprising against a 34 year old Biya regime who increasingly faces difficulties to obtain loans from foreign donors.