(Business in Cameroon) - Cameroonian minister of Public Works, Emmanuel Nganou Djoumessi, presented on May 23 the causes of the increase in the costs of road projects in the country. This was during a cabinet meeting chaired by Prime Minister Joseph Dion Ngute in Yaoundé.
According to the public works minister, road cost inflation is mainly due to shortcomings in the implementation of technical and geotechnical studies, as well as pressures related to taxation, compensation and network transportation. Constraints also include uncertainties in companies' payment deadlines, the use or non-use of competition in the award of contracts and changes in the prices of key inputs such as cement, iron, bitumen and aggregates.
To cut this cost augmentation, the minister says, the government is adopting a new strategy that consists of unit pricing based on elaborate sub dividends and not on average prices, the realization of public procurement on the basis of rigorous technical studies and in line with the maturation criteria of investment projects.
Promotion of local industry
Emmanuel Nganou Djoumessi also mentioned the resizing of roads to reduce earthworks and pavement costs, the promotion of public-private partnership contracts in the construction sector, operation and maintenance of road infrastructure and the control of road construction taxes and input costs.
He points out that the implementation of an inclusive road industry based on the promotion of a few national operators, the practice of construction studies and works, and the upgrading of categorized SMEs should contribute to increasing the length of paved roads at a relatively low cost.
For the World Bank, the costs of Cameroonian road projects are two to six times higher than those of similar projects in countries with equivalent levels of development. As proof, the institution indicates, the Yaoundé-Douala highway will cost $11 million per kilometer (compared to $3.5 million in Côte d'Ivoire and $3 million in Morocco), while the Yaoundé-Nsimalen highway costs $6.12 million per kilometer.