Members of the Decentralisation Committee at the just ended Major National Dialogue have proposed the adoption of a special status for the North West and South West Regions so as to boost local development.
Meeting under the chairmanship of Ngolle Philip Ngwesse, the committee said the endowment of the North West and South West Regions with a special status in conformity with Article 62(2) of the Constitution will reinforce the autonomy of local authorities and accelerate development. The Committee also proposed the ‘effective putting in place of of Regions as soon as possible’.
The members of the committee said the crisis in the North West and South West Regions has greatly affected local councils so they proposed the disbursement of a special allocation to each of the councils, to facilitate the effective resumption of activities.
Amongst the key recommendations made by the committee was the suppression of the provisions for the appointment of government delegates provided for within the special regime applicable to certain areas. In the same vane, they also proposed a substantial reduction of the powers of the supervisory authorities in the regions.
In order to reinforcethe financial autonomy of local councils, the committee proposed the effective implementation of Article 23(2) of the Law on the orientation of decentralisation which states ; « the financje law will determine on the proposal of the government, a portion of the state revenue dedicated to the common decentralisation fund. »
In line with the above, the participants thus proposed a margin of 10-15 percent of the state’s budget be allocated to local councils. They also proposed the relaxation of the rules governing the joint accounts which usually delays the effective transfer of funds to the local councils.
They also proposed the revision of the July 22, 2004 Laws on Decentralisation and the as well as the 2009 local tax and financial regime of the local authorities.
In order to increase the administrative and managerial autonomy of local authorities, the committee made several proposals such as ; the creation of a local public service in conformity with Article 19 of the Orientation Law on Decentralisation, the implication of municipal authorities in the appointment of Secretary Generals of councils and municipal treasurers…etc.
Finally, participants insisted on the need to put in place a timeline and a follow up body for the implementation of all the recommendations tabled by the committee.
The Bilingualism Committee had at least 62 members who worked for two days to come out with the proposals after examining the various means through which appropriate responses can be found to the aspirations of the populations of the North West and South West Regions as well as the other 8 Regions from the standpoint of decentralisation and local government.