During the year 2025, the Cameroonian government plans to increase its ratio of sustainability of t wage bill of public agents to 33.8%, against 36.2% in 2024, 37.2% in 2023 and 36.3% in 2022.
If this projection contained in the medium-term economic and budgetary programming document , which is the basis for the 2022 budgetary orientation debate , is realised, Cameroon will record its first good performance in 16 years on this indicator decreed by the CEMAC (Cameroon, Congo, Gabon, Chad, CAR, Equatorial Guinea) as part of the multilateral surveillance criteria.
Set at a maximum of 35%, the sustainability ratio of the state wage bill represents the ratio between the volume of tax and customs revenue collected during the year and the expenditure on state personnel. In an official document annexed to the 2022 finance law, the Cameroonian government reveals that this ratio, capped at 35%, has never been respected since 2009 (which will mean 16 years of underperformance in 2025), due to the explosion of recruitment to the civil service, compared to retirements.
In fact, the same document reveals that between 2011 and the end of June 2021, the number of staff in the Cameroonian civil service rose from 206,212 to 346,557, an increase of 68%. The expenditure on personnel has experienced the same upward curve, rising over the same period from only 681.4 billion CFA francs to more than 1,000 billion CFA francs.
To restore the threshold of the sustainability ratio of the State wage bill to less than 35% in 2025, Cameroon plans to strengthen the control mechanisms and continue to clean up the State’s balance file, according to the medium-term economic and budgetary programming document (2023-2025).
It is also a question of reforming the process of recruitment and management of the state’s human resources, in order to guarantee control of staffing levels and to ensure consistency between the quality of recruitment and the staffing needs that are essential for boosting priority sectors in line with the NDS30. The State also intends to accelerate the conditions for the effective implementation of the new personnel and pay management system, notably Sigipes II.
Fictitious employees Organised from 2018 by the Ministry of Finance, the operation to physically count state personnel (Coppe) has made it possible to remove thousands of fictitious public employees from the state’s pay file and to identify pensioners and staff who are still active and have been receiving certain payments and other benefits unduly for years, due to reprehensible practices.
According to the Prime Minister, Joseph Dion Nguté, this operation has enabled the Treasury to save a total of CFAF 51 billion on the wage bill of public agents in 2021. As regards the rationalisation of recruitment, it can be observed that on 11 June 2021, the Minister of Public Service and Administrative Reform, Joseph Lé, signed 28 decrees opening competitions for the recruitment of new personnel in various State bodies for the year 2021. In total, only 1 536 posts were open.
This figure shows a drastic decrease, compared to the 3,700 places filled in 2020, against 5,411 and 5,179 places opened in 2019 and 2018 respectively. At the same time, in a letter dated 19 May 2022, co-signed by the Ministers of Higher Education and the Civil Service, and addressed to the Secretary General of the Presidency of the Republic, the government suggests that it could suspend, as of 2023, the automatic integration into the civil service of teachers trained in the Écoles normales supérieures (ENS) and the Écoles normales supérieures de l’enseignement technique (Enset).
This hypothesis is all the more conceivable since, as the government confesses in the document annexed to the 2022 finance law and referred to above, the explosion in recruitment to the civil service is mainly due to the automatic integration into the state workforce of graduates of the country’s ENS and Enset. “By going from 30,640 to 83,308 between January 2010 and June 2020, the number of secondary school teachers has multiplied by 2.7. They now represent 34.4% of the civil service workforce, whereas they represented only 15.8% at the beginning of 2010.
Source: Investir au Cameroun