Mayors, Government Delegates and their Deputies in Cameroon are virtually disillusioned over the non-payment of their salaries, one year after President Biya instituted salaries for them.
The President of the Republic instituted salaries to council officials in decree No 2015/405 of September 16, 2015.
Going by the Presidential decree, only a joint decision of the Minister of Territorial Administration and Decentralisation and the Minister of Finance, will spell out modalities for payment.
The two Ministers are yet to sign the joint order one year after the Presidential decree. Some council officials are now pointing accusing fingers at the two Ministers for sitting on their money.
“These Ministers are victimising us and disrespecting the Head of State at the same time,” one official in one of the councils in Yaounde screamed.”
According to a source at the Prime Minister’s Office, the issue further stoked the fire of procrastination when raised during a meeting of the National Decentralisation Council that held at the Star Building recently.
One CPDM Mayor, who spoke to The Post on anonymity, said they have been submitting documents after documents to the administration in vain.
Another source from the Ministry of Territorial Administration said the Minister was verifying to ensure that nobody gets two salaries from the State.
It is reported that many of the Mayors are civil servants who are still earning their salaries from the State treasury.
By virtue of article 4 of the Presidential decree, Mayors who earn salaries from the public service should not be given any salary.
Such people can only have functioning and representation allowances as well as other advantages from the council.
The same article 4 (2 & 3) of last year’s Presidential decree makes it clear that it is only when those concerned show proof that they are resident in their respective council areas that they can be paid.
In this perspective, it is the Senior Divisional Officer, SDO, who issues an attestation of effective residence to every Mayor at the beginning of the budgetary year.
Last year’s Presidential decree was followed by a Prime Ministerial decision that announced that FCFA 3 billion from the 2016 Decentralisation Fund would be used to pay the salaries of municipal officials this year.
The officials are worried that they are yet to receive a dime, a few months to the end of the 2016 fiscal year.
Many Mayors have dismissed the claim that the delay in the payment of their salaries is due to the process of verifying Mayors with cumulative posts.
“A majority of us are people from the private sector and the civil society. So, why sacrifice a huge group of people just because of a few individuals?” one of them wondered.
“We are suffering; we cannot even fuel our cars. Only Mayors and Government Delegates who are in rich council areas are not bothered by this vicious delay in the payment of our salaries as decreed by the President of the Republic.”
The Presidential decree provides that the Government Delegate will earn a monthly salary of FCFA 400,000; the Deputy Government Delegate will pocket FCFA 200,000.
Mayors will take home FCFA 250,000, while their deputies will earn FCFA 150,000.
Mayors and other municipal officials received the news with excitement.
During the General Assembly of the Association of Towns and Cities of Cameroon in Yaounde early this year, the Mayors thanked President Biya for the gesture.
Yet, administrative bottlenecks and inertia are still keeping their salaries away from them. The two Ministers in whose hands the responsibility of paying the Mayors’ salaries lies are yet to give any public explanation about the delay.
Many Mayors wonder if the salary arrears, beginning from the date of the Presidential decree will be paid when the matter is laid to rest.