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Cameroon : How to reduce the costs of road infrastructures ?

During the Cabinet meeting held Thursday, May 23, 2019 in Yaounde, the Minister of Public Works, Emmanuel Nganou Djoumessi, declined the strategy of the Government to reduce the cost of construction of road infrastructures
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05/24/2019 - 19:48
Mike Biya
Rédacteur cameroun-online

Like every last Thursday of the month since he was appointed head of government in early January, Joseph Dion Nguté chaired a Cabinet Council this Thursday, May 23. Work articulated around two main major axes: The development of infrastructures and the improvement of the service offer in the transport sector.

Reduction of infrastructure construction costs

Regarding infrastructure development, the Minister in charge of Public Works (MINTP) presented a strategy to reduce construction costs of road infrastructure. Increases in costs, overcharging and other additive costs of road infrastructure, for example, have become recurrent in various construction sites across the country.

A worrying situation, often causing delays in deliveries, but also lively controversy within the national public opinion. The estimate of a 9-kilometer road at CFAF 45 billion in August 2018 is a recent example of the problem mentioned.

For Emmanuel Nganou Djoumessi, this surge in construction costs can be explained by several factors. He attributes it to the shortcomings observed in the realization of the technical and geotechnical studies. But also the constraints inherent in the taxation, compensation and movement of networks, uncertainties in the payment time of companies, the use or not of competition in the award of contracts and the evolution of prices of major inputs such as cement, iron, bitumen and aggregates.

To reduce these risks, the Minister in charge of Public Works outlined a strategy in five key points. He proposes the adoption of a new approach to setting unit prices based on elaborate sub-details and not on average prices. To which he adds the realization of the public order on the basis of rigorous technical studies and in conformity with the criteria of maturity of the investment projects.

The state engineer also suggests resizing roads resizing roads to reduce the costs of earthworks and roadways. The minister proposes to promote public-private partnerships and a better control of the taxation related to the costs of inputs needed for the construction of road infrastructure.

For the record, studies by the World Bank indicate that the costs of Cameroonian road projects are two to six times higher than those of similar projects in countries with comparable levels of development, without always meeting the standards.

If the issue had already been discussed during the annual conference of the central and decentralized services of MINTP, the Prime Minister has, this time, given firm instructions for the resorption of the cost of construction of road infrastructure.

The Head of Government has instructed the MINTP "to submit concrete proposals for the establishment of a bitumen production unit," says the release of the Government, made public at the end of the Council of Cabinet this Thursday .

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