AFCON preparations guzzles Littoral Region budget

In line with Presidential edict to the effect that all resources necessary for the successful hosting of the 2019 African Cup of Nation, AFCON, by Cameroon be put at high premium, preparations for the for the sports fiesta in the Littoral Region are already on high gear as reflected in the 2018 financial year budget launched recently in Douala, with 30 percent of the national budget in allocation.

The budget which went operational on January 10 after its launch at the Littoral Governor’s office stands at 71, 269, 813, 390 FCFA, exactly 28.6 percent of the FCFA 4,516.5 billion that make up the state budget.

In terms of implementation, priority sectors of the budget include organization of the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations, construction of the Japoma stadium, rehabilitation of the Omnisports and Mbappe Leppé stadia, development of the East and West entrances of Douala, completion of works on the second bridge over the River Wouri and hygiene and sanitation in the city of Douala.

Implementation guidelines for the budget have been presented to various authorities, programme managers, contracting authorities, finance controllers, public accountants and public and private partners.

As usual, revenue will rely heavily on the total mobilization of non-petroleum resources.

The execution of the said budget will be guided by the search for greater socioeconomic efficiency in spending, the improvement of the public service and the priority settlement of the debt due to state suppliers, mainly small and medium size enterprises.

In the Littoral Region, three main areas are top priorities; “measures to increase revenue mobilization and improve the business climate, measures to reduce state expenses and rational distribution of public spending and the measures to strengthen various sectors to produce results.

Airport Tax causes storm

The first major change in the Region as the budget went operational was the increase in the airport tax from FCFA 10,000 to FCFA 25,000 as per the new finance law.

The immediate implementation of this measure did not go down well with some passengers at the Douala International Airport who reacted with surprise and anger-they had to pay extra FCFA 15,000 on their already purchased tickets which took into account the FCFA 10,000 in the 2017 finance law.

“This is pure theft. I bought my ticket since December 20, 2017, my return is scheduled for January 06, 2018 and I am asked in the name of the new finance law, to pay a surplus of 15,000 FCFA. Why? My ticket is not concerned by this law, “a passenger fumed at the airport.

However, according to a note signed by the Directorate General of Taxes and made public read: “The tax D7 on your airline tickets has been revised upwards. It goes from FCFA 10,000 to FCFA 25,000 according to the 2018 finance law. Also, for all the air tickets issued in 2017 for travels in 2018, the passenger will have to pay an additional FCAF 15,000 at the airport to regularize the tax in question which in 2017 stood at FCFA 10,000 instead of 25,000 FCFA for this year…”However, the airport duty stamp for local flights remains unchanged; FCFA 1000.

By Francis Ajumane

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