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President Paul BIYA chaired a Council of Ministers meeting at the Unity Palace on Thursday 15 March 2018. This was the first contact with Members of Government after the 2nd March cabinet reshuffle and the first of such cabinet meeting since 2015.
Below is Mr Biya's full speech at his rare cabinet meeting:
COUNCIL OF MINISTERS MEETING FOLLOWING THE CABINET RESHUFFLE OF 2 MARCH 2018
******* ADDRESS BY THE HEAD OF STATE Yaounde,
15 March 2018
Mr. Prime Minister,
Honourable Members of Government, You are welcome to Unity Palace on the occasion of this Council of Ministers Meeting which is taking place following the cabinet reshuffle of 2 March 2018. I would like to warmly congratulate those who have been newly promoted, as well as those who have been maintained.
Do strive to be worthy of the trust bestowed upon you! I urge you to work diligently so that, together, we meet the multiple challenges confronting our country. Our people expect nothing less from us. Ladies and Gentlemen, Despite an unfavourable global economic context, the consolidation of our economic performance, the improvement of our people’s living conditions and the fight against unemployment must remain the Government’s core priorities. In this light, it is necessary to pursue the smooth implementation of the Programme concluded with the IMF.
There is also an urgent need to finalize the implementation of major structuring projects, the Emergency Growth Acceleration Plan and the Special Youth Plan. The operationalization of the Kribi Deep Sea Port and the second bridge over the Wouri augur well in that regard. 2 These and many other projects that have been or are soon to be completed may be commissioned this year. However, despite these excellent performances, we must not forget that much remains to be done. As I underscored recently in my message to the Nation, the Government should continue to put a special focus on outreach services, such as water and electricity supply, health, and road infrastructure. Ladies and Gentlemen, I strongly reiterate my instructions on the need for judicious use of public resources, reduction of public spending and the fight against corruption.
Each of you, in your respective spheres of competence, should rise to the performance challenge. The pursuit of the general interest and efficiency, solidarity, team spirit and respect for hierarchy, should guide your action at all times and in all circumstances; they constitute the standards by which you will be judged.
Ladies and Gentlemen, Thanks to the firm action of our defence and security forces, we have been able to drastically curb the atrocities perpetrated by criminal groups in the Far North, North-West and South-West Regions. Efforts in that regard need to be continued, especially to ensure that economic and social activities return to normalcy. Our populations countrywide have continued to express their desire to be closely involved in running the affairs that directly impact their daily lives. The creation of the Ministry of Decentralization and Local Development is geared towards speedily addressing these repeated calls.
In the short term, I am expecting detailed proposals and a timeline for fast-tracking the on-going decentralization process. 3 Several elections are scheduled for this year, starting with the senatorial elections which will be held in the days ahead. Necessary measures must be taken to ensure that they are conducted in total calm and security.
The effective establishment of the Constitutional Council, whose members have just taken the oath of office, is a further guarantee of our determination to forge ahead with our democratic process. The necessary resources must be provided to ensure its optimal functioning. I am pleased with the efforts made thus far regarding preparations for AFCON 2019. I urge the various government services concerned to step up these efforts for Cameroon, Africa and the world to celebrate a grand and excellent football festival.
Mr. Prime Minister, Honourable Members of Government, The daunting task devolving upon you requires the full and total commitment of each and every one of you. It is your duty to fully mobilize the human resources under your authority to provide concrete answers to the legitimate concerns of our people. Such is and should always be the ultimate goal of your action. Thank you for your attention.
Zimbabwe’s former leader Robert Mugabe said he never thought new President Emmerson Mnangagwa would turn against him and denounced Mnangagwa’s move to oust him last year as a coup, in an interview broadcast on Thursday.
Mugabe, 94, ruled Zimbabwe from independence in 1980 until he stepped down under pressure from Mnangagwa’s allies in the army in November.
Viewed by some as a liberation hero, others remember Mugabe for turning a promising country into an economic basket case and international pariah.
Mnangagwa, deputy president under Mugabe, has promised to open up Zimbabwe to foreign investment and mend ties with the West since assuming power.
Mugabe, 94, ruled Zimbabwe from independence in 1980 until he stepped down under pressure from Mnangagwa’s allies in the army in November.
“I never thought he whom I had nurtured and brought into government and whose life I worked so hard in prison to save as he was threatened with hanging, that one day he would be the man who would turn against me,” Mugabe said in the interview with South African state broadcaster SABC from Harare.
Mnangagwa was convicted of sabotage under white minority rule and sentenced to death. But he was spared the noose because it was deemed that he was a minor when he had committed the crime.
Mugabe said he was ousted in a “military takeover” and that Mnangagwa had assumed the presidency illegally.
“I don’t hate Emmerson, I brought him into government. But he must be proper, he is improper where he is. Illegal,” Mugabe said. “We must undo this disgrace, which we have imposed on ourselves. We don’t deserve it.”
Since his fall from power, Mugabe has stayed at his Harare mansion with his wife Grace. His ousting was the culmination of a power struggle between Mnangagwa and Grace Mugabe, who was being groomed by her husband as his potential successor.
Mugabe was granted immunity from prosecution and assured that his safety will be protected in his home country under a deal that led to his resignation.
Mugabe quit as parliament began a process to impeach him, triggering wild celebrations in the streets.
Zimbabwe was once one of Africa’s most promising economies but suffered decades of decline as Mugabe pursued policies that included the violent seizure of white-owned commercial farms and money-printing that led to hyperinflation.
Mnangagwa has said Zimbabwe still wants to end discrimination between black and white farmers but will seek new ways to compensate those who have lost their properties. Former colonial ruler Britain said last month that Harare should press on with transparent and fair land reform.
Switzerland disburses CFA3.4 billion to promote renewable energy projects in Cameroon. This was revealed on March 14, 2018, during the first meeting of the steering committee in charge of the management of this fund in Yaoundé.
During the meeting presided by the economy minister, Alamine Mey, it was revealed that the projects supported by these funds will be constructed by the rural electrification agency (AER).
Let’s note that though the potential exists for solar, biomass and wind energy in Cameroon, they represent only 1% of the country’s energy mix.
The North West regional delegate for social affairs, Animbom Aaron, who was kidnapped last February 25, 2018 in Batibo by suspected separatist fighters has in a video, allegedly released by the Ambazonia Defence Forces, called on the government through the Minister of Social Affairs to show the arrested Ambazonia leaders to the public so as to save his life.
The delegate who was seemingly in the same clothing as the day of his abduction said; “I am Animbom Aaron Yong, Regional Delegate of Social Affairs for the North West Region. I am pleading to the Minister of Social Affairs to intervene that the leaders of Ambazonia, that were arrested and we are told that they were brought to Yaounde, should be shown to the public to show that the people are alive, because I am here and they have given me 48 hours that I will be sacrificed if these leaders are not shown to be alive. I have been kidnapped by the ADF and I am pleading to the Minister of Social Affairs to intervene at the level of hierarchy so that my life can be spared.”
Animbom Aaron was kidnapped on February 25 in Batibo as he was returning from a funeral in the village, just over a week after the Divisional Officer for Batibo Marcel Namata Diteng was equally abducted on February 11 from the Grand Stand while preparing for Youth Day activities.
The whereabouts of the D.O of Batibo are still to be known as the military continues and extensive search for the two kidnapped officials.
The Ambazonia leaders including the self-proclaimed Interim president, of the virtual republic, Sisiku Ayuk Tabe were arrested in Abuja, Nigeria on January 5 during a meeting.
Since the arrest of these leaders, no one has been able to see them.
Communication minister had announced that they have been transferred to Cameroonian authorities and are doing well in a security prison in Yaounde. He promised that they will be tried according to the law and their rights will be fully respected.
However, apart from Minister Tchiroma’s declarations, no other confirmation of their presence in Yaounde has been registered as family members and lawyers have not had access to them as at now.
The arrest and subsequent transfer of the Ambazonia leaders resulted in further escalation of violence in the North West and South West regions characterized by attacks on military posts and reprisal killings by separatist fighters and the military.
The Sun Newspaper
Port autonome de Kribi (PAK) has just launched a call for expression of interest to pre-qualify the companies that are willing to operate the multipurpose terminal of Kribi deepwater port.
Cameroon’s government thus restarts the process it concluded in August 2015 by choosing the group formed by Necotrans and Kribi Port’s Multi Opérators (KPMO) which is a consortium formed by many local companies.
Indeed, due to financial difficulties, Necotrans was unable to fulfill its commitments in the framework of this concession and in January 2018, the country officially declared that company’s default.
MTN Group Ltd on Thursday March 9, said it is considering investing in countries such as Cameroon, classified by the group as “conflict markets.
In a recent review on its markets across Africa and the Middle East, the mobile-phone company states that is doing a spring clean of its empire in these countries.
According to the Group Chief Financial Officer, Ralph Mupita, the company plans to take “appropriate action” if any of these countries are not cash-flow positive.
Regarding Cameroon, Mupita said MTN received a $6.6 million fine from Cameroon’s telecommunications regulator and a one-year reduction in its license term for allegedly not complying with spectrum and subscriber registration regulations.
Mupita also revealed that the company was also ordered to disconnect 3 million subscribers.“It’s a big priority to resolve this in the near term,” Mupita said. “If it’s not resolvable, then it’s not resolvable. We want to find an amicable resolution to stay.
Cameroon’s government, it would be recalled, had exhorted mobile companies including MTN, to cut internet from subscribers, in an attempt to douse protests from English speaking Cameroonians. Despite pressures from rights groups and international organisations against the ban, government remained adamant.
Government’s shutdown of internet in English speaking Cameroon had made life extremely difficult for millions of people in the country. Citizens in dire need of internet connectivity were forced beyond endurance to hunt for the high-tech communication technology in neighbouring cities making them to be tagged as internet refugees. The Internet blackout did not only slow down businesses but shut them out with associated heavy financial losses
A coalition of rights groups monitoring internet outage recently disclosed that Cameroon lost over $2.69 million during the internet shutdown.
Internet in Anglophone Cameroon, was partially restored on April 20, 2017, after three months blackout.
MTN Cameroon FY revenue falls due to lower subscriber base
MTN Cameroon’s total revenue in 2017 decreased by 6.6 percent on an organic basis to ZAR 5.38 billion, hit by the lower subscriber base and offset by 21.1 percent growth in data and a 27.4 percent rise in digital revenue. MTN still experienced a challenging operating environment, following the data shutdown and a slowdown in economic activity, which had a material impact on subscriber and revenue growth in the year.
The business suffered a number of operational challenges, too. The subscriber base closed the year at 7.1 million, after the disconnection of approximately 3.0 million subscribers in early October 2017 to comply with regulatory requirements on subscriber registration. The company had stated 9.45 million subscribers on 30 September and 9.87 million at end-2016.
Active Mobile Money customers increased 194.2 percent to 1.1 million, with revenue up 767 percent year-on-year
By Elah Geofrey with additional reports from Journal du Cameroon