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Councils Share FCFA 10 Billion German-FEICOM Grant 

By Francis Tim Mbom & Lionel Tchoungui Bidzogo

Some 16 Councils in Cameroon, amongst them the Buea, Tiko and Muyuka Councils, are presently preparing project proposals destined for submission in the next 45 days to the Special Council Support Fund for Mutual Assistance code named FEICOM.
 

Out of the 16 Councils, only eight or at most ten shall be finally selected to benefit from an FCFA 10 billion fund that has been granted by the German Government through its German Development Fund, KFW, to the Cameroon Government.
 

The grant is said to be in connection with the German-Cameroon Cooperation aimed at assisting beneficiary Councils, under the decentralisation programme, to carry on some projects that can help alleviate the lives of the people within their different municipalities.
 

It is based on the above that the authorities of FEICOM in collaboration with KFW were in Limbe on Wednesday, July 23, for a one-day workshop, presided at by the Southwest Governor, Bernard Okalia Bilai, and the General Manager of FEICOM, Philip Camille Akoa, with the aim of providing the Mayors and technical staffers of the three short-listed councils in the Southwest with the necessary requirements of how to go about with the writing of their project proposals.
 

In a press briefing, the GM of FEICOM, Mr Akoa, said the projects required aught to be those that have the potential to benefit the population. “It can be water supply, electricity or any type of project that is out to benefit the people of the municipality,” Akoa said. The 16 short-listed councils have been drawn from four Regions of Cameroon; the Councils of Kouseri, Foumban, Fombot, Dschang, Bafang, Obala, Bafia, Buea, Tiko, Muyuka and six others.
 

According to Daniel Rolot, Chief of Mission for the training exercise in Limbe, he, in a presentation that outlined the criteria for the final selection, stated that each council, depending on the size of its population, shall have a maximum of three proposals to submit. He added that there shall be a jury to scrutinise the submitted proposals and each proposal shall be graded on a score of 100. “Only those prosals that shall have a score of 70 and above shall be considered for selection,” Rolot stated.
 

As to what is required, he listed a whole lot of items that Councils must include in their proposal files; each project shall have to carry a Council deliberation approved by Councillors in a session authorising the Mayor to carry out such a project; the project must also show evidence of the population’s participation and each Council must have authorisation to use the site destined for the project. Besides, the Councils shall need to furnish the selection Committee with copies of the Administrative Accounts for 2010, 2011 and 2012.
 

As to what shall become of the unfortunate Councils, FEICOM GM said the grant was a kind of a pilot project destined to run for the next four years, that’s till 2018. According to him, the others, if this phase turns out successfully might fall in the next phase. “I think that this is a pilot project and if it is well managed, probably in the future, the German Government can put in more money and we can have more Councils to benefit.”
 

As to the least amounts for the projects, the Chief of missions stated that some Council areas, depending on their population size, shall benefit funds amounting to FCFA 1.3 billion for municipalities with populations above 50,000 those with a less than 50,000 population ratio shall be entitled to at least FCFA 230 million for a project.
 

Meanwhile in a bid to resolve one of the requirements which requires that Councils shall need to provide 10 percent of the funding, the GM of FEICOM disclosed that for those Councils that shall be financially constrained, FEICOM shall pay for their 10 percent and deduct at source.
“You understand our role is to support and we shall be ready to pay for the 10 percent and deduct as we usually do,” Akoa said. His reaction was to the relief of the Tiko technical staff which had raised the worry.

Mayors Sensitised On New Housing, Urban Development Scheme
 

On the sidelines of the FCFA 10 Billion grant, FEICOM and other stakeholders in the housing and urban development sector, July 22, sensitised Mayors and other municipal executives on the Municipal Housing Estate Construction Programme in Yaounde.
 

The project which would facilitate communal efforts in providing housing facilities to denizens of various localities is the fruit of a partnership accord and convention signed, April 3, 2013 through which the Cameroon Real Estate Loan Corporation, CFC is providing FCFA 10 Billion to FEICOM to finance the construction of low cost houses as a means of curbing the deficiencies in the housing sector. Stakeholders would be requested to draw on model projects developed by FEICOM whose reference costs for housing construction must be consistent with income of target for consumers of the programme.
 

According to FEICOM officials, not every council would be eligible. However, councils of urban and semi-urban areas with at least 10.000 inhabitants, hosting a university institution and in which there are high rates of economic activities would be eligible for the loans, to be paid back within the space of 20 years with very low interest rates.
 

The Minister of Housing and Urban Development, Jean Claude Mbwentchou invited Mayors and other actors in the housing and urban development sector to be ingenious and use the Municipal Housing Estate Construction Programme, a joint initiative of the Cameroon Real Estate Loan Corporation, CFC, FEICOM and the United Councils and Cities of Cameroon, UCCC as an opportunity to better the housing systems in the country. 
 

The president of the UCCC, Emile Andze Andze expressed hope that the programme was going to lead to the construction of new and low cost quality houses to meet up with the needs of denizens, promote the use of local construction materials and lead to better living for everybody.
 

The Mayor of Kumbo, Donatus Njong Fonyuy appreciated the efforts of the partners saying that this was going to foster development in the country. “We could build some of these houses and sell them at low costs to the denizens. By so doing we would be able to secure a refund for the loan,” he added.

 

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