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Parliamentarians Protest Against Late 2024 Finance Bill Tabling

Parliamentarians Protest Against Late 2024 Finance Bill Tabling

Paru le vendredi, 01 décembre 2023 14:15

Members of Cameroon's National Assembly yesterday attempted to block the presentation of the government's Economic, Financial, Social, and Cultural Program for fiscal year 2024. The move was a protest against the late tabling of next year's finance bill by the executive.

The finance bill was only tabled late yesterday afternoon, just 10 days before the end of the session devoted to examining and voting on the crucial text. This is in clear violation of Article 57 of the law governing the State's financial system, which stipulates that the finance bill must be tabled in Parliament at least 15 days before the opening of the budget session.

MP Cabral Libii of the Cameroon Party for National Reconciliation (PCRN) pointed out that there are over 15,000 pages of text to examine. "We have just received the 122 pages of the first part of the 2024 Finance Law. We don't know when we'll receive the more than 15,000 pages of annexes," he stated.

Libii also criticized the government's handling of the situation, suggesting that the late tabling of the finance bill could be a sign of "dissension" within the government. "According to the law, we should have received it two weeks before the start of the 30-day session. Eight days before the end, the 2024 Finance Bill is still awaited by the National Assembly," he commented. He also announced the Social Democratic Front (SDF) and the Cameroon Democratic Union (UDC)’s elected representatives would work together to force the government to comply with the laws regarding bill tabling. 

MP Jean Michel Nintcheu, who was expelled from the SDF a few months ago, was also absent from the plenary session on the tabling of the finance bill. His absence was a sign of protest against the government's systematic violation of the law regarding the tabling of the finance bill.

Nintcheu believes that the examination of the finance bill is not a necessity for the government, otherwise, it would give Parliament time to study it. He revealed that in private, MPs from the ruling party CPDM also complain about this way of doing things but don't dare protest in public. 

The protest by deputies against the late tabling of the finance bill has become an almost annual occurrence, as the government consistently violates the law in this regard.

The late submission forces an expedited examination, which is now underway. The deputies on the Finance Committee will hear from each of the 30 or so ministers in the government. Then will come general discussions in plenary sessions where virtually all government members will be questioned by elected representatives on issues specific to their ministry. The same pattern is expected in the Senate with the whole process to be completed before December 9. After that process, the parliament will gather for an extraordinary session. 

L.A.

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