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EITI Cameroon On Brink Of Suspension- Civil Society Leader 

As soon as a country reaches the conformity status of Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative, EITI, such a country has as obligation the production of a report every year on the activities it has been carrying out. But since Cameroon reached the EITI conformity status in October 2013; the country has not yet produced a report of her activities.

This is the revelation made in Yaounde recently during a press conference by a Civil Society Organisation, CSO, Centre for Environment and Development, CED, on the state of implementation of the EITI in Cameroon. The EITI has as objective to inform the people on the activities of the extractive industries and how they are faring. Cameroon was co-opted into the initiative in 2005 and since then has struggled to implement transparency in the extractive industries sector.

Giving a balance sheet of the strides made so far, a representative from the CED, Eric Bisil, pointed out that of the 31 activities set aside to be carried out by the initiative in Cameroon; only 3 have been carried out. He added that Cameroon has not yet produced a report of her activities and risks being suspended if she doesn’t do so in due time.

In his presentation, one of the EITI members, Jaff Bamenjo, highlighted a series of salient hurdles which the initiative has been facing in Cameroon. He enumerated the mastery of the new EITI standards in Cameroon, the struggle for Cameroon to remain a compliant country and the execution of some activities scheduled to take place in the country as some of the challenges staring them. After appreciating the efforts of the Publish What You Pay Cameroonian Coalition, which has in the last 9 years monitored the extractive industry in Cameroon and worked hard to better them, he called on all stakeholders to help ally with the initiative to ameliorate living standards of Cameroonians.

“EITI is a very dynamic process. In 2013 new standards were implemented, the mastery of these standards is a major challenge, but we are doing our best. We should be able to provide information on all revenue streams in the country, but we have been facing a few difficulties. As Martin Luther King said ‘our lives begin to end when we become silent about things that matter’,” he added.

In the face of this situation, Journalists, civil society activists, and syndicate leaders have been called upon to support EITI to help ameliorate living conditions of Cameroonians and promote accountability in the use of the numerous natural resources the country is endowed with.

Reacting to the presentation from the various panelists, the president of the land transport syndicates, Deffo Sonkeng, questioned the activities of the initiative in Cameroon and called on the members of both the Cameroon Coalition Publish What You Pay and EITI to be truthful to the people of Cameroon. “From 2008 to now, EITI has been unable to inform the people on where money from petrol, uranium, gold and other resources goes to,” he added.

The powers concerned took the engagement to sit up and maintained their plea that the civil society, media, syndicates and other stakeholders in the extractive industry join in their struggle in informing Cameroonians on what is happening with the proceeds from the extractive industry and secure a better tomorrow for them.

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