Friday, May 4, 2012

Cameroon: Public Accountants Urged To Spearhead Fight against Corruption

By Christopher Ambe
Any public accountant worth the salt must be in the forefront of the fight against corruption, Mr. Ayuk Peter, Southwest Treasurer/Paymaster-General (TPG) has told public accountants of the Southwest region.
Mr. Ayuk was speaking recently at the first coordination meeting of treasury accountants of the Southwest financial jurisdiction in Menji-Lebialem, while informing them of the elaboration of the National Anti-corruption Strategy.
“We shall not alleviate poverty effectively if we do not help create incentives for those deserving them and sanction those who want the easy way to riches”, remarked the TPG, who is said to be a vocal anti-corruption crusader and stringent financial expert.
The stock-taking meeting was intended, among other things, to examine the innovations of the 2012 finance law, innovations on the 2012 accounting nomenclature, the national strategy on the fight against corruption, reports of activities of chiefs of service and heads of treasury stations, and the importance of opening bank accounts for both service providers and civil servants
The TPG revealed that four Municipal Treasuries of the Southwest region had not produced management accounts for over seven years now, even though it is one of their obligations.
 “As concerns the production of management accounts, from all indications, the municipal treasurers of Wabane, Kombo Ikindi, Idabato and Akwaya still seem to be finding it impossible to produce any management account since 2004,” the Treasurer/Paymaster-general said at the meeting, strongly requesting them to submit to him ASAP a written report of their difficulties
He regretted that of a total of over 10.3 billion FCFA received as credits for the Southwest region for this year as at march 31st the Treasury department in the Southwest had effectively paid only 494,295,864 FCFA as expenditure relating to the budget of 2012, representing a percentage of execution of 4.77%.
 “In fact, this gives us a percentage execution of the running budget of 13.11% and of 0.42% for the investment budget of 2012 which is 7.049,596,000 FCFA,” he said.
Mr. Ayuk said an execution rate of 4.77% when the year was one-quarter gone was not a good percentage, noting that as at last March, 25 % of the year had already gone.
 “We cannot afford to have a general consumption of 4.77%; it means we are lagging behind. In two months time we are going to receive the credit of the second semester in addition to the punctual credits to be given to the region especially as the head of state will be visiting the Southwest region.”
 The Treasurer-General warned the accountants: “The late production or non-production of periodic situations, the sluggish treatment of regular bills, the unjustified delays in the payment of expenses that have already been controlled and found, the lack of cash flow management which makes some of you to publish the list of people to be paid only for such beneficiaries to be told to come later when they present themselves at your stations, will be promptly and severely punished”
He told colleagues to anticipate the expenditure plans of authorizing officials, inform him on time so he could tell hierarchy- for a proactive management of cash flow.
 “In fact, cash flow management is done at the level of Yaoundé on a daily basis and that is what we shall eventually apply at all levels of the economy to avoid frustrating service providers who have earnestly earned their dues,” the TPG said.
He said in the first quarter (January 1 to March 31), his jurisdiction effectively recovered a total of about 2.8 billion. Mr.Ayuk pointed out that, the recovery witnessed a “very significant increase in service revenue”, which rise he attributed to on-going recoveries mission that is now in Meme Division.
“In fact, within this same period last year, service revenue was only FCFA 148,224,656;for this year we have FCFA 202.780,106,a rise of 37% thanks to the ongoing inventory of income generating sources”, he revealed. “Meanwhile 42 new revenue collection services were identified in Meme Division bringing the total number of income generating services to 72 from the former 34 services identified in 2011.We expect this number to increase when the team finishes with Konye subdivision which has not yet been completely visited”
The TPG disclosed that the Southwest Region as at last March 31 had 225 revenue collectors, up from 164 in March 2011.
However, he regretted that out of the 225 revenue collectors, only 23 had deposited monthly returns with regularity since January 2012.
TheTPG said as concerning the state budget the level of execution for running credits as at March was at 13.11%. “As concerns the investment credit we are very low, it is at the level of 0.42%.For the councils, it is even worse for the running budget placed at their level…they are at the level of 0.1%. As concerns their investment credit, nothing has been paid yet. I think this is because most of the investment credits have to the procedure of tendering”
He called for a speedy procedure, noting that “more often than not the treasury does not pay if the authorizing officers do not take initiative.
For his part, Mr.Magloire Mendouga, who sat in for the Director-General of Treasury, Financial and Monetary Cooperation reminded the accountants of the existence of a commission on the Fight against Corruption in the Ministry and requested the Treasury/Paymaster-General to proceed with the creation of sub-commissions of anti-corruption body in his financial jurisdiction. He announced that to encourage total efficiency and total duty-consciousness, the Director-General of Treasury, Financial and Monetary Cooperation has launched an Excellence Award for best treasury accountants.Mr.Mendouga said treasurers/paymasters-general ,for the competition, would be judged based, among other criteria, on the quality of their accounts rendered.
He stressed the need for the respect of the time limit of sixty (60) days for all payments.
The coordination meeting was declared open by the by the Governor of the Southwest region through his representative, Fofie Mboueda Chrsitopher, who is also First Assistant SDO for Lebialem.Mr.Fofie implored the accountants to ensure the proper execution of the State budget.
Earlier in his welcome speech, the mayor of Menji, Chief Fobellah Nyockembeng II, appealed to the participants to serve also as ambassadors of Lebialem by lobbying for development projects for the Division, which he likened to the Switzerland of Cameroon due to its topography.
First Published in The Recorder Newspaper, Cameroon, of May 2, 2012

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