(Business in Cameroon) - Most banks approved by Cameroon as Primary Dealers (SVT) on the Beac public securities market are showing less and less interest in operations made by the Treasury on this market. This is the observation the Minister of Finance, Louis Paul Motazé (pictured), made last February 16 during the presentation of the FY2023 national financing program in Douala.
"I have noticed that many SVTs do not respect the specifications agreed on with the Treasury. They have not participated in any of Cameroon’s operations on the market in the past six months. Out of a network of more than 20 primary dealers, 90% of the outstanding securities are held by about five major players," the Minister said. He took the occasion to award the best financing providers.
Société Générale du Cameroun (SGC) was named the best SVT, Standard Chartered Bank won the award for best progress, best innovation went to Financial Capital, and the best foreign SVT to the Gabonese Union of Banks (UGB). Reliable sources reported that although Cameroon has demonstrated its solvency, repaying more than CFA3 trillion on the Beac market without a single default since 2011, the country is still struggling to raise short-term funds on the market. The reason is that even though some other countries within the region have defaulted on some loans, they offer more attractive interest rates.
"We are trying to make the banks, which are the primary dealers, understand that they also have to analyze the risks and not just focus on attractive interest rates. Our short-term securities are around 4% but some other countries in the region go up to 7%. I appreciate that the Beac representative said measures are being deployed to avoid exaggerated rates. The same phenomenon is observed in long-term securities, on which there are huge levies. A rate of 7% is displayed, but high levies follow. This distorts transparency and even the whole system," says Sylvester Moh, Director General of the Cameroon Treasury.
Beac data show that while Cameroon has long been the major player in the public securities market, it is now outpaced by Congo and Gabon, both of which have become very aggressive in the market. Officially, as of January 2023, these two countries held 27.7% and 26.7% respectively of the outstanding securities issued on the money market, compared with 24.2% for Cameroon.
Brice R. Mbodiam