The government of Cameroon has once again allocated more than half of the state budget to the payment of staff salaries and other recurrent expenditures and the National Defence Corp, rather than growth and investments.
Following the draft state budget for 2019, presented to Members of the National Assembly in Yaounde, a huge chunk of the state budget will again be reserved for ostentatious expenditures, a characteristic that has branded the government, year after year.
A quick look at the 2019 state budget, shows that the highest envelopes have been allocated to the Ministries of Secondary Education, with more than 393 billion francs, followed by Public Works with more that 361 billion, Defence, 241 billion, basic education, 247 billion, Public Health 207 billion, and Water resources and energy 202 billion frs.
A closer examination however reveals that while the bulk of Education Finance, and Defence Budgets will go towards the payment of salaries and other recurrent expenditure, insignificant investments budgets were allocated to the Ministries of Public Works, Housing and Urban Development.
Contrarily, the later ministries are supposed to be the most investment oriented high offices, hence, for the completion of road infrastructure and housing projects.
Most intriguing, is the fact that the General Delegation of National Security has witnessed an increase in its budget from 1.5 billion this 2018, to 28.4 billion in 2019. The Precarious security situation particularly in the Northwest and Southwest regions must have accounted for the increase.
Hence, it could be revealing that the government of Cameroon will continue to implore military crackdown, rather than sitting on a dialogue table, to solve the crisis.
A renowned economic expert in Douala, has criticised the move, saying the government could spend less in engaging a genuine dialogue and seeking peaceful solutions, than deploying security forces in the conflict hit regions, which to him, is worsening the situation.
Nonetheless, a host of other areas have been earmarked for investment.
More than 175 billion will go towards investment projects in Public Health, while 145 billion francs have been set aside for investment projects and water resources and energy.
The directives and commitments of the Head of State in effecting the Decentralisation process replicated itself in the budget of the Ministry of Decentralisation and Local Developments, that will be raised from 11.4 billion in 2018 to 45.7 billion in 2019.
In all, accelerating decentration, providing security, upgrading public works, low cost houses, healthcare, education, and energy infrastructure, are the major priority areas in the 2019 draft state budget.