An excise launched this year to reduce unnecessary government spending is yielding fruits.
By Waineng Wanmbui
The Minister of Finance, Louis Paul Motaze launched an operation in April this year to physically count civil servants in bid to rid the state payroll of people who are unduly receiving salaries. One month into the operation, no fewer than 900 ghost workers have already been fished out. The exercise was launched due to the fact it had become very common to hear that civil servants abandon their duty posts and continue to receive salaries for no work done. Some of such unscrupulous citizens even leave their jobs and pick up positions in companies abroad and continue to scam the state. Some of the dishonest civil do so in collusion with their immediate bosses, we gathered. This does not only increase government spending but equally blocks employment opportunities for unemployed youths who could have filled the vacancies. Cases of undeclared deaths are also among the irregular payments.
Sources in the department of budget in the ministry of finance say so far, 40 percent of the physical counting has already been done, while the process is expected to close by the end of June.
The head to head count of civil servants is part of a broad spectrum of measures geared towards rationalisation of public spending. The Head of State, President Paul Biya has in recent years, repeatedly given instructions that government spending should be cut.
The rationalisation of public spending is even the more important given the complex situation of affairs in the countries. Security issues and humanitarian crisis in the Far North and East regions have obliged government to divert to that direction, resources that would have been allocated to public investment that would improve on the living standards of the citizenry. The uprising in the North West and South West regions where security forces are combatting armed separatist groups is not helping matters. The director general of custom, Edwin Fongod Nuvaga told reporters in a press conference in Yaounde at the beginning of this year the state coffers was deprived of billions of CFA francs due to insecurity on the customs posts along the border with Nigeria, especially the one in Ekok, in the North West region. He also echoed the same message in a meeting he held in Bamenda, and called on citizens to shun violence and support government effort to restore peace in the restive parts of the country.
It should be recalled that naysayers had casted doubts on the head to head counting operation with some them going as far as stating in newspaper columns that Motaze public spending rationalisation initiative was programmed to fail. The records so far has proven them wrong, rather portraying how concerted government action has been effective in implementing the instructions of President Paul Biya.