(Business in Cameroon) - This year, Cameroon saved XAF40 billion of wage bills. This was revealed by Prime Minister Joseph Dion Nguté while presenting the government's economic, financial, social, and cultural program for 2021 before the national assembly on November 25, 2020.
According to the official, the amount was saved thanks to a set of measures implemented by the government to sanitize its payroll. These measures include the individualized payment of civil servants’ salaries and the dematerialization of payslips, also called "cash vouchers".
Indeed, on August 14, 2020, the Minister of Finance officially launched the payment of salaries via the Central African Teleclearing System (Systac), administered by the central bank. This system allows the Treasury to directly fund the account of the beneficiary of the pay or pension, as opposed to the old system, called the Automated Large Amounts System (Sygma).
Through this system, funds were sent to banks, which then distributed them to the accounts of state employees. The treasury was thus unable to check whether the salaries were effectively paid to the workers or not. Sometimes, the banks keep the amount not paid (either because the recipients are dead or the accounts were fictitious), for several months, instead of returning them to the national treasury.
As for the dematerialization of cash vouchers, it started in October 2019. The operation consisted of replacing the physical vouchers then used to pay salaries under XAF100,000 FCFA, with electronic vouchers. "This is an approach aimed both at simplifying the procedures for paying the salary of public officials and also considerably reducing fraud," Finance Minister Louis Paul Motazé said at the time.
The reforms were preceded by the Physical Count of State Personnel (Coppe) initiated in 2018. Launched in April that year, this operation helped remove more than 10,000 fictitious civil servants from the state payroll. Thanks to that cleanup, the country saved an annual budget of about XAF30 billion, according to official information.