Home » 10 Years After Prime Ministerial Decree, 4 Years After Awarding Contract, Who Is Stalling B’da Market Projects?

10 Years After Prime Ministerial Decree, 4 Years After Awarding Contract, Who Is Stalling B’da Market Projects?

by Atlantic Chronicles
Atlantic Chronicles


By Singfred Sinior & Andrew Nsoseka

The recent inferno that saw part of the almost 60-year-old Bamenda Main Market gutted down by fire might not have happened if the Prime Ministerial directives had not ended up in Mr Musa Shey Nfor’s drawer.

As per Arrêté N°039/CAB/PM of May 15, 2014, the then Prime Minister and Head of Government of Cameroon, Philemon Yang, created a Special Commission for a Partnership Contract, aimed at selecting a private partner for the construction, operation and maintenance of three commercial markets in Bamenda, including Bamenda Main Market, Bamenda Food Market and the Nkwen Market.

In implementing the said Prime Ministerial text, the President of the Special Commission was appointed by Arrêté N°081/PM of August 26, 2014, while the composition of this Special Commission was duly established by Municipal Decision N°006/MD/2014 of September 23, 2014 with, Mr. MUSA Shey Nfor, as the Chair.

Members included Mr. KABA Charles, representative of Bamenda City Council (BCC); Mr. Chenwi Peter, representative of BCC; Mrs Chengue née Njeck Prudencia, representative of the Ministry of the Economy Planning and Territorial Development (MINEPAT); Mr. Ekoman Ekoman Jean-Noël, representative of Support Council for Public-Private Partnership Contracts (CARPA) and  Mr. WAINDIM Jude Nsom as Secretary.

On May 24, 2017, the then Government Delegate to the Bamenda City Council, Vincent Nji Ndumu, launched an International Public Call for the Expression of Interest N° 001/PICMI/PC/BCC. Its aim was to select a private partner to execute the projects estimated at about FCFA 1.1 billion for Bamenda City Main Market; FCFA 800 million for Bamenda Food Market and FCFA 600 million for the Nkwen Market, a deal within the frame of what is known as public-private-partnership.

Following due process and respecting all the demands of the process in accordance with the provisions of the Call for the Expression of Interest, the public plenary opening of the bid was done on October 30, 2019, at 10:00 a.m. in the presence of all the members of the Special Commission as well as the representative of the candidates.

After analysing all the tenders, Cameroon Investment and Development Group was retained. It was now left for the final meeting to hold to kick start the project, but, incidentally; at the same time the position of Government Delegate was abolished and the position of City Mayor created.

The outgoing Government Delegate, Mr. Vincent Nji Ndumu, handed over his functions to the new City Mayor, Achobang Tambeng Paul, expecting him to see to the realisation of these projects, whose administrative procedures were almost complete and which had already cost a lot of money to reach that advanced stage.

According to the Secretary of the Commission, Waindim Jude Nsom, when Achobang became the City Mayor of Bamenda Council and the new Project Owner, he was briefed on the importance and progress of the project.

On June 4, 2020, Achobang wrote to the Chair of the Commission, who had become the current Mayor of Nkambe Council, requesting  him to hold a meeting with his members on a date of his convenience between the 15th and 30th June 2020. The new City Mayor suggested that the meeting should hold in Yaounde for security reasons. Musa Nfor has since then not convened any meeting relating to the project.

When we contacted, Musa Shey Nfor, he said the City Mayor had never contacted him on this project. He also claimed not to have ever received any letter from Mayor Achobang requesting for the convening of a meeting on the project.

It is surprising that after fire recently gutted the Bamenda Main Market, the City Mayor, instead of falling back to this project, went calling on victims to curry support from the government through Women’s Day march past.

The prospect of another fire of destructive proportions in the same market and other markets in the city that have been begging to be constructed can only be described as a disaster waiting to happen.

That the people of Bamenda and the Northwest Region at large, like every other part of the Anglophone Regions, are known to show less devastating effects of the monstrous Anglophone Crisis as long as and only if their petit businesses sail on appreciably healthily, is a fact that cannot be undermined.

Limiting the market potentials of the strategic regional headquarters to a 70-year-old market, void of a credible insurance scheme, lack of access ways for rescue teams and their engines in times of disaster like the one Bamenda just lived, does not signal a good omen for the well-being of the heavily aggrieved business population, at the this material moment.

The onus rests on the powers that be to rethink and source avenues for permanent solutions to be proffered to these dire concerns.

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