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Gov’t Inertia Blocks Mayors’ Salaries 

By Yerima Kini NsomAlamine Mey

Administrative bottlenecks and inertia are said to be the reason why Government Delegates, Mayors and other municipal officials are not yet receiving their salaries, seven months after the President of the Republic instituted them.

The President instituted salaries for municipal officials in a decree of September 16, 2015. According to the Presidential decree, only a joint decision of the Minister of Territorial Administration and Decentralisation and the Minister of Finance will spell out the modalities for the payment of the salaries. The two Ministers are yet to sign the joint decision seven months after the Presidential decree. Inside sources have blamed such a delay on administrative bottlenecks and the inertia that compels the State machinery to grind at a snail pace.

Speaking to The Post, the Mayor of Tiko Council in the Southwest Region, Daniel Moukondo said they were at a loss, wondering what is happening with the salaries that the Head of State announced. He said he was groping in the dark without the least idea as to what the situation was.

The Mayor of Belo Council in the Northwest Region, Bernard Tosam, said he was all ears waiting for the Minister of Territorial Administration to react. He said all the Councils have deliberated on how much the municipal officials will be earning in terms of allowances and are all waiting for the Minister.
“The delay in the payment of our salaries is not good because it shows clearly that this country is ruled by inertia.

Just imagine that you tell a very hungry man that you will give him food soon and you keep him waiting for months. That is exactly what we are going through,” one Mayor in Yaounde fumed. Article 4(2 & 3) of last year’s Presidential decree states that the mayors will be paid only when they show proof that they are resident in their respective Council areas. In this perspective, it is the Senior Divisional Officer, SDO, who issues an attestation of effective residence to every mayor at the beginning of the budgetary year.

Last year’s Presidential decree was followed by a Prime Ministerial decision that announced that FCFA 3 billion from the 2016 Decentralisation Fund would be used to pay the salaries of municipal officials this year. Many observers lauded the move as a positive twist in the process of decentralisation that Cameroon embarked on since 2004.

The Presidential decree of September 16, 2015, indicates that the monthly salary of the Government Delegate will be FCFA 400,000. The Deputy Government Delegate will take home FCFA 200,000. Mayors will have a monthly salary of FCFA 250,000, while their deputies will earn FCFA 150,000 each.

Mayors and other municipal authorities all over the country received the news with excitement. Small wonder that, during the General Assembly of the Association of Towns and Cities of Cameroon in Yaounde recently, they thanked the President for such a move.

Experts had lauded the institution of salaries to the municipal officials, saying they are the main actors of the decentralisation process.

“It is a good thing because if everything goes on well, council officials are expected to manage huge sums of money within the context of the decentralisation process.

It was going to be a risk if we allowed huge sums of money in the hands of people who are not paid,” one of them told The Post.

The issue of salaries for municipal officials is just one among many problems ailing the process of decentralisation. Since 2004 when the National Assembly adopted the law on decentralisation, the process has been very slow. Many Ministers are reluctant to transfer some of their powers and resources to the local councils.

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