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Cameroon Fails Resource Governance Index 

By Leocadia Bongben — Cameroon got a failed score on resource governance following the Revenue Watch Resource Governance Index, made public recently. Cameroon was ranked 47 out of 58 countries because of the major gaps in public information and oversight.

Revenue Watch Resource Governance Index is a tool that evaluates the quality of governance -transparency and accountability in the oil, gas and mining sectors, and the Cameroon Government is known to rely heavily on oil and gas industry for a quarter of its budget.
Four indicators are evaluated publication of information, institutional and judicial cadre, mechanisms of control and governance.

According to Revenue Watch Cameroon representative, Evelyne Tsangue, Cameroon has made progress in the index institutional and judicial component. This means there are laws which guarantee mechanisms of management through information on revenue and payments. Cameroon is one of the countries that publishes its environmental impact studies.

However, she said this good score was stained by opaque licenses, the terms of oil contracts not published and that little information is made public on the management of this National Hydrocarbons Corporation, SNH, which represents the interest of the State. To her, SNH collects revenue, transfers a part to the treasury and keeps the other part for operations. But, it is important to know how much is put aside for management and other operations. 

There are few checks on the national oil company as a partner in many oil projects, and regulator. SNH does not publish complete audited financial reports in conformity to international standards. Despite transparency gains, Cameroonians still do not have the information they need to make sure they get a fair share of the country’s natural resources wealth.

Though EITI participation has already improved transparency, Revenue Watch recommends that the Government should focus on producing a comprehensive report for EITI validation in August 2013. Following the index, no African country got a satisfactory note concerning the publication of information. Meanwhile, Norway, Brazil and the US are some of the highly ranked countries in the index.

First published in The Post print edition no 01434

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