The project for the construction of 14 automatic tolls on certain roads entrusted to Tollcam, the project company set up by the Razel BEC-Egis Projects consortium, may be back on track. But at a higher cost, it was heard on 10 June in Yaoundé, during the signing of the financing agreements for the project whose negotiations were completed in May 2022.
Indeed, said the Minister of Public Works, Emmanuel Nganou Djoumessi, the funding, which amounted to over 36 billion CFA francs in May 2020, is now at an increase of 5.8 billion CFA francs. This means that the construction of these tolls now costs nearly 42 billion FCFA. This situation is “attributable to the consequences of the international economic and financial situation, which, among other things, increases the cost of money,” he explained without giving further details.
Thus, said the member of the government, it is on this condition that GuarantCo, European financing company, member of the Private Infrastructure Development Group , was able to complete the financing of the project with as lenders: Société Générale Cameroun and Société commerciale de banque Cameroun , a subsidiary of Attijariwafa. GuarantCo did this work in its capacity as the new project guarantor, replacing Proparco, a subsidiary of the French Development Agency .
“Discussions with Proparco did not prosper for a year and six months due to persistent differences on a number of points, including the exchange rate risk inherent in a refinancing guarantee denominated in euros,” said Emmanuel Nganou Djoumessi.
Proparco’s withdrawal from the project would also be due to other blockages related to the non-release of rights of way on other sites that should house the toll booths of the first phase of the project.
Some details have not yet been revealed. In particular, it is not known whether, with the increase in the cost of the project, the volume of revenue expected by the State, announced when the partnership contract was signed in 2020, is still relevant. But we do know that the financing period is spread over 14 years. And that the toll booths will be built after 14 months.
The first phase of the work is to be carried out on 7 toll stations: Mbankomo, Boumnyebel, Edéa, Nsimalen, Nkometou, Tiko and Mbanga. The first control post is to be completed at Mbankomo in six months at the latest. In the second phase of work, substations will be built in Bayangam (Bangangte-Bafoussam); Bafia (Obala-Bafia); Manjo (Mbanga-Manjo); Bandja (Bafang-Bafoussam); Matazen (Bafoussam-Bamenda); Foumbot (Bafoussam-Foumbot) and Dschang (Dschang-Bamougoum).
The partnership contract signed with Tollcam covers a period of 20 years: two years of execution of the works, the counting of which began on 10 June, and 18 years of operation. With this project, the Cameroonian government hopes to better secure toll revenues. Because the manipulation of cash that prevails until now often opens the way to embezzlement of public funds. This causes losses for the treasury.