Atlantic Chronicles

Despite Inheriting FCFA 1.2 Billion Debt: Buea Mayor Assuages Fear, Promises Better Days Ahead

NEWS, Politics, Society

Councillors of Buea Municipality have held the first ordinary session since the February 9 elections, during which they examined the administrative, management and stores management accounts of the Council for 2020.

It was revealed that the Buea Council owes the State taxation Department over FCFA 1.2 billion. Of this amount, FCFA 30 million has already been paid.

Chairing the Council session, Wednesday, July, 22, Mayor David Mafany Namange said there is need to be hopeful because the new team has also settled parts of their debts with HYSACAM (FCFA150 million debt); FEICOM; and the National Social Insurance Fund (FCFA 120 million debt).

According to him, the Buea Council was on the verge of economic breakdown when he took over management alongside his 40-man team last February 2020; and the Buea Council had not paid its 318 workers for five months.

But he said they have paid workers’ salaries with salaries for upcoming months already advanced.

The Council had just FCFA 228,000 left in its coffers as at February 2020 when the new management took over the Municipal affairs.

“For a while we have been there, we cannot say it has been all green, but we do not complain. Every cloud has a silver lining and God has a purpose for bring people together at a particular time,” Mayor Namange said.

During Council deliberations, the problem of managing waste in Buea came up. The task was handed over to the Hygiene and Sanitation Company, HYSACAM, in 2010, but the garbage company is short of equipment needed for the job.

This breakdown has many neighbourhoods in Buea littered with piles of garbage for several weeks now. The Buea Council has only paid FCFA 20 million out of the FCFA 150 million it owes HYSACAM.

Councillors proposed that the Council should assist in the waste management task, by setting up a waste management plant to transform garbage into products such as cooking gas for income generation.

Councillors said this is possible if Chiefs and Quarter Heads are sensitised to monitor waste disposal and hygiene conditions of their neighbourhoods.

Other proposals to keep Buea clean were that more public toilets be constructed in the municipality and sanitary controls should be done at hotels, restaurants and bars.

Other projects which the Council envisages to do is the electrification of Buea main road stretch from Mile 14 Debanda through Mountain Hotel; and the grading of the some streets, among them Mt Camel and Chief Streets.

“We have given out contracts for some boreholes, we have paid three months of salaries before now… We are servicing our debts. I cannot be quite exhaustive of what we have done. We are working within the means available to us, especially at these trying times with the COVID-19 pandemic,” the Mayor said.

He also said his Municipality has recently lost to separatist fighters the local representative of Maumu village.

Buea Goes Back To City Of Legendary Hospitality

One of the major resolutions of the Council session was the change in the city’s appellation from City of Excellence to the City of Legendary Hospitality.

The appellation “City of Excellence” was adopted by the former Mayor, late Patrick Ekema Esunge, but Councillors said City of Legendary Hospitality remains the original appellation for Buea.

They said “City of Legendary Hospitality” clearly reflects the hospitable culture of the Bakweri people.

Buea remains one of Cameroon’s most cosmopolitan cities, harbouring people from diverse areas, some of who are already participating in the local government of the Buea Municipality,” said one of the councillors.

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