The National Executive Committee of the Social Democratic Front (SDF) has reacted to the so-called 500.000 laptops the Head of State promised University Students. In a Press Statement forwarded to BaretaNews by BENJAMIN FRU and signed by Ni John Fru Ndi , the SDF Chairman made it clear that the said “donation” by Mr. Biya is ridiculously unfair, unsustainable, unjust and smells of institutionalized corruption. The SDF went on to declare the following:
– Our students need better infrastructure, multimedia centres of excellence, enabling universities that cater for creativity and research rather than laptops that most if not all students already have.
– Our students have been asking for the removal of university fee in public universities and the reinstatement of scholarships.
– It is ridiculous for Mr. Biya to indebt future generations for an uncalled for and unplanned purchase and terms his act a donation; when it is the taxpayer’s money that is at stake.
– Mr. Biya cannot donate 500’000 laptops when broadband connectivity in Cameron is extremely limited and one of the most expensive in Africa.
– 75 Billion for a long term loan on a short life cycle product is unfair – you cannot loan a product and the loan takes three times more time to repay than the useful lifespan of the product itself
– it is against simple economic rules.
– 75 Billion for 500’000 computers is FCFA 150’000 per laptop whereas wholesale laptops from China cost from FCFA 19’000 to a maximum of FCFA 79’000 per laptop depending on the speed and memory.
– Importing 500’000 laptops means that our local businesses are losing the sale of 500’000 laptops to students, which means that numerous businesses will close down whereas these businesses are supposed to generate the tax necessary for the repayments of the loan.
– This loan was once again negotiated outside of public finance law and regulations, with the same CHINA EXIM bank that favoured the MA60 aircraft scandal, where we know that our future generations are going to pay back three times more than the price of those aircraft due to evident kickbacks.
– This loan is nowhere to be found in our State Budget like many other Presidential extravagancies. The State Budget is the legal instrument Mr. Biya is bound to use for state expenditure and income.
– Extra-budgetary expenditures are subject to Presidential Ordinances that have to be ratified by Parliament. Failure to do so is tantamount to embezzlement.
– Public finance laws and regulations require tender processes for state expenditures above FCFA 5 million except where, for exceptional, expressed and published reasons the Prime Minister grants a direct purchase. We are curious to understand why purchases through the CHINA EXIM bank are never subject to tenders.
– If Mr. Biya has finally agreed with the SDF that our national education system should migrate to information and communication technologies, he should follow the SDF’s position to the end whereby we call for the production of this material locally. Who asked for laptops and what are our priorities in education and in public expense?
The SDF went on to questioned why do Cameroun representatives sit in parliament for a whole month to decide and authorize the government on state expenditure if Mr. Biya can arrogate himself the legislative powers to which he is bound to spend Cameroun money for purposes that are neither priorities nor an express demand of students.
The communiqué further stated that the SDF advocates for an enabling policy that will make Cameroun higher education and research institutions excel, which equally allows Cameroonians to produce locally the computers, tablets, and software that will be used in these institutions nationwide.
This is not a novelty as Rwanda and most recently Cote d’Ivoire have started the production of 4000 computers per day with an investment of just 4 Billion FCFA. The transfer of technology and the creation of jobs is not a slogan but can be a reality with a government that has a vision above that of perpetuating an ill-fated regime in power- SDF Chairman stated.
The SDF Chair went on to condemned vehemently the organized embezzlement and informs CHINA EXIM Bank that Cameroon’s future generations will not be held liable for loans that are avenues to corruption. We can only consider this rampant abuse of the collective intelligence of Cameroonians as another case at best of embezzling our collective conscience for electoral purposes and at worst, one more case of mass embezzlement organised by Mr. Biya himself- Fru Ndi stated
God is still saying something.