The circular providing instructions for the execution of the 2021 finance law reveals that the Cameroonian government will step up the actions initiated in the framework of Coppe, an operation aimed at sanitizing its payroll.
To this end, the circular states, “the Ministry of Finance, in collaboration with the administrations involved, will continue with the implementation of the post-enumeration phase which should allow, among other things, the recovery (from banks and micro-finance) of the sums unduly collected by suspended public servants.”
The recovery of these salaries from financial institutions will be facilitated by the new payment clearing system SYSTAC being administered by the Central bank BEAC since August 2020. This system allows the Treasury to directly deposit funds into the pay or pension beneficiary’s statement of banking identity (RIB), unlike the old system Automated Large Amounts System (Sygma).
Under Sygma, all pays and pensions were wired to banks, which deposit them into the respective beneficiaries’ accounts. Therefore the treasury had no control over the real volume of pays and pensions effectively paid or not. Worse, rejected salaries are not quickly returned to the treasury, leading to ineffectiveness in the salary suspension process for civil servants in illegal situations and depriving the state of financial resources.
Let’s note that every month, the Treasury spends about XAF105 billion on the salaries and pensions of public servants. This equals over XAF1000 billion annually, almost a quarter of the state’s 2021 budget (XAF4,865.2 billion).
On November 25, 2020, while presenting the government’s 2021 economic, financial, social, and cultural program, Prime Minister Joseph Dion Nguté revealed that the Public Treasury saved XAF40 billion of wage expenses in 2020. Those savings, we learned, were the result of actions carried out by the government to sanitize its payroll.
These actions include the physical counting operation (COPPE) carried out in 2018. That operation helped the government identify and remove over 10,000 fictitious servants from its payroll, resulting in an annual budgetary savings of about XAF30 billion.