(Business in Cameroon) - This year, the purchase of goods and services by the State, decentralized local authorities and public entities will have to be made exclusively on the basis of “the market price list and the quantity of products whose reference prices and tariffs for equipment, supplies and various services intended for public administrations are set by order of the minister in charge of prices.” The prescription is contained in the circular on instructions relating to the execution of the 2020 budget, signed on December 30, 2019, by the Minister of Finance.
According to the document, this requirement applies to all contracts (letters of order and private contracts [Articles 109a and 109d of the Public Procurement Code] and administrative purchase orders) with the exception of those that have been the subject of competitive tenders. In this case, “the prices to be considered are those contained in the financial offer of the successful tenderer,” the circular states.
The market price list here is a tool for the control and management of public expenditure used solely in the context of transactions with the State. It should be understood as a list of prices approved and accepted by the administration. This list for regional and central administrations are made available to authorizing officers by the ministry in charge of prices or by its regional services, as the case may be. The circular warns that “orderers are thus obliged to refer to them when formulating their orders, failure of which will make them personally liable in the event of over-invoicing.”
However, according to the circular, “when an equipment, supply or service subject to a public order does not appear in the published price list, the central or decentralized services of the ministry in charge of prices are systematically seized by the authorizing officers to determine in an express manner and within seven working days for administrative purchase orders and fourteen working days for letters of order and contracts by mutual agreement (Articles 109a and 109d of the public procurement code), the prices to be used in the public order.”
In that case, an addendum is added to the price list. Once the authorizing officer provides evidence of reception to the Ministry of Commerce, the prices proposed by the successful tenderer are deemed valid.
This provision prescribed by the circular attempts to break the old habits of certain government officials and service providers who had become accustomed to applying a random price list system without a normative framework. This was seen in particular in the implementation of construction projects in the framework of the AFCON2021 Cameroon will organize.