(Business in Cameroon) - Phase II of the construction of the Yaoundé-Douala highway (Bibodi-Douala, 135 km) will be executed under a public-private partnership (PPP). "In this responsibility-sharing agreement with private partners, the State will free the right-of-ways. In that regard, any delay in freeing the right-of-ways will result in damages for the private partner, which will inevitably charge the state” for these damages, the Minister of Public Works (Mintp), Emmanuel Nganou Djoumessi (photo), indicated before the senate last June 18.
Therefore, Emmanuel Nganou Djoumessi said, drawing lessons from Phase I of the Yaoundé-Douala highway (Yaoundé-Bibodi, 60 km), "during which the problem of compensation of victims, whose properties located in the right-of-way of the road was destroyed, has been a real factor limiting returns (…) Anticipatory measures are being taken to ward off or at least mitigate slippages in the deadlines” set for the completion of phase 2 of this road infrastructure.
“The declaration of public utility has already been requested and some prerequisites are in place. This includes setting, in the Mintp’s 2021 budget, an appropriate provision allocated to these operations. This provision will cover the operating costs of the commissions set to report and appraise the properties affected by these works and the actual compensations," the official declared.
Also, he said, the State has decided to urgently free the 50-meter area that will be occupied by the road, out of the 200 meters right-of-way of this phase. The remaining 150 meters will be freed with the end of compensation operations. Thus, as soon as the company in charge of works is mobilized, a 50-meter platform free of any occupation will be ready so that it can carry out its earthworks and other operations.
Duration of works: 4 years
"In any case, the calendar that we have elaborated by taking into account the various stages of the procedure according to the legal framework in force set the signature of the partnership contract for March 30, 2021. The work can be carried out in four years, as determined by the private partner that has the greatest interest in completing it as soon as possible," the Minister said.
The Mintp has already launched an international public call for expressions of interest for the selection of companies or groups of companies that will partner with the Cameroonian government for the financing, design, construction, operation, and maintenance of phase II of this highway in the framework of a PPP contract. The bids are expected by June 30, 2020. At the end of this stage, a maximum of five candidates will be pre-qualified for the restricted call for tenders.
To date, works in the framework of Phase I of this road are 90% completed for 92% of the deadlines used. After two extensions of the completion deadlines (the first one was a 12 months extension, from October 13, 2018, to October 12, 2019, and the second 14.5 months, from October 13, 2019, to December 31, 2020), the estimated completion date is December 31, 2020. These extensions were due, notably to the multiple changes to the road’s path and disputes about compensations. Because of the Covid-19 pandemic, a third extension is expected. "The Covid-19 health crisis will cause a slippage whose impact is yet to be assessed,” Emmanuel Nganou Djoumessi warned.